A Not So Uplyfting Start to our Family Vacation

The other day I told you that we were traveling to Colombia to make Juan’s birthday wish come true. What I didn’t say was that during the first hour– during the first 10 minutes of our trip– Juan’s nightmare also came true.

There are many things I love about my husband, but his anxiety about travel is not one of them. This is surprising because for a man who stresses about travel, we have certainly taken several trips.  To be fair, he doesn’t stress about travel in general, but what gives him the greatest amount of anxiety is everything that happens before we actually get on the plane. How should we get there? What should we pack? Where shall we stay? And most of all,  “How far ahead of our flight should we arrive at the airport?” (Four hours, thank you very much.)

This trip was no different. Even though we had worked out a lot of the logistics that come with booking travel for six people to a foreign country, we did not do any advance planning to arrange transportation to the airport. With Father’s Day as our departure day, we couldn’t ask any family or friends to drive us. The shuttles were very expensive and public transportation just seemed too complicated for six people and as many suitcases. Earlier this week I happened to take a Lyft and as I chatted with the driver, I learned that Lyft could take us all to the airport far cheaper than a regular airport shuttle. It sounded like the perfect solution, except that you can’t book a ride on Lyft in advance. For those of you who have not used Lyft, or Uber, it basically allows you to use an app on your smart phone to order a driver to come pick you up.  The fares are reasonable and the drivers are usually prompt and friendly.  There are different levels of service and since there were six of us, plus luggage in our group, I knew we needed a Lyft Plus. As Juan and I crunched the numbers we decided it made the most sense to order a Lyft Plus to get to the airport. I repeatedly assured Juan what the Lyft driver told me, “Lyft drivers are widely available anytime.”

In order to make our 1:45 p.m. departure, Juan wanted us out the door at 9:00 a.m. (I wasn’t kidding when I said he wanted to be there four hours before.) A little later than planned, I opened my Lyft app at 9:15 to arrange pick up at our house. My heart started pounding a little faster when I read, “No Lyfts available.” I refreshed the screen. Still none available. Worse yet, the message now indicated, “Prime Time,” which meant I had to pay 50% more! I broke the news to Juan and watched his face turn red and a vein in his forehead begin to throb and turn purple. Frantically, he picked up his phone and began calling an airport shuttle. He repeated the message on the phone, “No shuttles available in your area.”  I watched his face now became the color of the throbbing forehead vein. It was too late to schedule a shuttle! I began doing the math in my head. If we drove ourselves and paid for parking that would be $13 per day.  With tax that would be over $300! Luckily, Olivia, a Lyft and Uber expert, like most kids here age, suggested we order two Lyfts, estimating it would cost us the same as Lyft Plus. That seemed to calm my husband down and stop his cardiac arrest, especially when I told him that the Lyft could get to us in 5 minutes.

True enough, five minutes later our first Lyft arrived, a car without any trunk space! I watched from inside the house as Juan’s agitation grew until the driver told him that he would cancel our order without charging us, and order us another Lyft with trunk space. Two minutes later the second Lyft arrived–a Honda Civic. Juan and the driver crammed  four suitcases into the trunk and Juan left with two of the kids. Meanwhile, I waited with Olivia and Nico for our replacement Lyft. Less than five minutes later our Lyft arrived, a beautiful 7 passenger minivan! The kids and I put in our two suitcases and stretched out in comfort. Meanwhile, we sent Juan a text to tell him we were on our way and would meet him at the airport. He asked if we had leg room. Olivia and I debated if we should tell him the truth, and decided to let him know that had he just taken a breath and waited five minutes we could have been driving together in a comfortable minivan. The response he texted me looked a lot like Juan’s face did earlier:

The only thing this emoji is missing is a throbbing purple vein.

The only thing this emoji is missing is a throbbing purple vein.

Now we are here in Medellin and things are going well, for now.  The kids are generally getting along.  Juan looks a lot happier.

He’s smiling now.

Tomorrow we are venturing out in the city.  We have decided we are going to use Uber.

NaBloPoMo: 30 Days of Blogging About my Ordinary Life

Earlier this week my son Nico saw me at my computer editing a blog post. He had just come out from his room after working on Instagram a school essay. I’m sure he does not understand how anyone could possibly spend their time writing anything that’s not an English class assignment.

Nico asked me, “You’re blogging again? I explained that I was nearing the end of NaBloPoMo, when I post everyday in November. Skeptically, he asked, “Is your life that exciting that you have something to write about every day?”

I didn’t even know how to respond to that until I thought about my November’s daily posts, then I said, “No.”

My life isn’t that exciting and yet I still managed to blog everyday for the last 30 days. In my uneventful life, that in itself is pretty exciting.

I hope it wasn’t too boring for you, and you’ll be back to read more, even if my posts are biweekly instead of daily. Maybe something exciting will happen in my life on my non-blogging days. Maybe not, but I”ll still blog about it. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled life.

Happy December!

Black Friday

After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. I actually went shopping from about midnight until 3:00 a.m. This probably explains why I wanted to sleep in instead of going to Diego’s soccer tournament today, but I went to cheer him on anyway.

I’m glad I went. Of course, I was exhausted afterwards. Which explains why I was not feeling like going out with my best friends for a birthday celebration. But, I went and had a fantastic time,

November is a busy time. I’m glad it’s almost over. I am writing this with one eye closed. I am so tired I can’t type straight. If it weren’t for NaBloPoMo I would be asleep right now. It sounds like a good idea. Good night.

Date Night

I don’t have time for a long post tonight because Juan and I are having a date night. Today just happens to be one of those times what the planets align and we don’t have any kids at home. My teens are with their other parents and Diego is at his first official slumber party. This means Juan and I get the night off!

You know what that means don’t you? Yes that’s right. Dinner and a movie. We get to go home to an empty house. I’m looking forward to a nice evening and a good night’s sleep. See you tomorrow.

Happy Friday!

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Foodie Friday: Nicks Cafe

Today is Friday, and that means it’s time for another post in my series of restaurant reviews which I call Foodie Friday, where I get to eat out with my husband using a discount voucher.  Today’s meal was brought to us by Groupon.  A few weeks ago I bought a voucher for Nick’s cafe. The voucher was $10 and allowed Juan and I to buy $20 worth of food. $20 for lunch may not seem like enough for two people to eat lunch in a cafe, but once we arrived at Nick’s we knew we’d be just fine.

Blast from the past at Nick's Cafe

Blast from the past at Nick’s Cafe

Nick’s cafe is not located in a high rent district.  It’s situated outside Chinatown and across from a large park, in an industrial area north of the civic center where I work.  The place has been there since the 1930’s, and it looks like it hasn’t been updated in about as long. The place is kind of an institution but aside from that, the food also garners some pretty good reviews on Yelp.

Diner atmosphere and counter seating.

Diner atmosphere and counter seating.

The small cafe has only counter seating indoors, but it was so stuffy inside that we opted to sit outside at one of the few tables. The outdoor tables are opposite the park, and along Spring Street, a major street with a lot of traffic. It was an interesting view. At one point during our lunch a movie crew passed by with a camera aboard a flat bed truck, hauling a train car with passengers. Only in LA.

The service and the food were not trendy LA at all. The waitress took her time to take our order and when she spoke with us she kept calling us, “Baby,” and not in a LA kind of way. More like a familial way.  The food was classic diner food. I ordered the turkey melt and Juan had the club sandwich. The sandwiches were really good. Both our sandwiches had thick homestyle bacon slices, which was a delicious addition to an otherwise ordinary selection.  The portions were not huge and came with only a pickle and a teeny tiny taste of coleslaw. I don’t like coleslaw so it’s okay with me that the portion was so small.  We paid extra and I ordered sweet potato fries while Juan ordered regular fries.

Club Sandwich with a slab of bacon.

Club Sandwich with a slab of bacon.

Turkey Melt and Sweet Potato Fries.

Turkey Melt and Sweet Potato Fries.

I would like to come back to this place for breakfast sometime. Yelp has some good reviews for the ham and eggs and other old school breakfast items. Speaking of “old school, Nick’s doesn’t take credit cards.  It’s a good thing we had some cash because even with the $20 Groupon, Juan and I had to pay an additional $7.00. It may not be in a high rent district, but the food prices sure aren’t low.