My second order of business is that some time ago I decided to stop doing Z's weekly photo. I was finding myself not looking forward to those posts and not putting my all into them. I was writing about Z so much in the other entries that I felt like at least 90% of what I was writing was a repeat. I'll still post photos of him along with Az's photos and write about him much as I already have been. The main difference will be that there will be less repetitive content on the blog. I'm not sure what to do about the book I was creating for him through these entries, I suppose it will all go into one book now. By the time the kids are likely to want their own copies I'm sure making a duplicate will be as simple as the push of a button. Or three at the very least.
So, on to the business of catching up...
After the stress of the previous two days of trying to, and not succeeding at, communicating with Safeway I decided a day trip away was called for. I had been wanting to take the kids to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk but because the place is so connected to memories of my dad I had stayed away. The last time we had been to Santa Cruz there was no Az yet; Miguel, Z, my dad, and I had gotten a hotel and spent the night across the street. It was my last trip with my dad, just before he went south to start radiation. I was a little worried about how I would feel to be back without my dad but happily when we arrived only the good memories and feelings were there to greet me. When my dad lived nearby in San Jose we would often spend the weekends we had together sleeping in his van on the nearby pier. I don't know if parking is even still allowed on the pier, but I have fond memories of falling asleep watching the men crabbing along the pier and waking up to see the next shift already with their nets in the water.
We got off to a late start and never made it to the pier on this day. In fact, we never even made it as far as the arcade at one end of the boardwalk. I bought Z a wristband for unlimited rides on the condition that he try out the Zipper, a ride that he has always been reluctant to go on. He went on the Zipper without much fuss but in hindsight I wish that I had made him choose a couple rides to go on rather than devoting so much of the day to rides. Az would have had more fun if she hadn't spent so much of the day waiting for Z to either get on or off a ride. She did get to try her first carnival ride on her own; Miguel chose the boats for her. She was finally tall enough for a ride (though she sat in the back because she couldn't reach the wheel in front) but as it turns out she might not have been ready to go by herself. She was very excited to be in the boat until she realized Miguel was leaving her there on her own. Not too long after the ride began she tried to stand up to get to me and the ride had to be stopped so she could get off.
As we were leaving the house that morning I discovered that one of my cousins from my dad's side was coincidentally heading to Santa Cruz that day as well. I called him up to see if he wanted to try to meet up. He was going to be there celebrating a friend's birthday but we would try to at least say, "Hi." While driving I received a voice mail that my other cousin was also going, and when I called her back I discovered that our aunt had been talked into coming as well. Despite the fact that my dad was one of six kids, his family has become very small over the years. Besides one of my dad's brothers whom I don't see very often the entire family was there at the Boardwalk that day. We met at the beach to watch a free show by Gregg Rolie (the vocals of Santana.) It was a nice unexpected surprise to the day.
My cousin's daughter, Z, my cousin, and the back of Az
My aunt and cousin with Z in a choke hold.
All of us. Unfortunately Miguel had to take the photo so he's not in the shot.
After the show my cousin J made us walk across an abandoned track, which didn't seem scary until I was crossing it, thinking about the fact that Miguel was crossing it in front of me with the baby strapped to his back. (When it comes to these things she is categorized as a baby in my mind.) There were a lot of missing boards and the bridge felt rickety. It felt like one of things where you fall in because you aren't worrying about falling in. In any case, I went across very slowly and carefully. I made Miguel cross on the path coming back but that turned out to be even scarier with Az on his back because the walkway was so narrow and Az was higher than the fence that was meant to protect people.
After our adrenaline-filled walk we parted ways with my family and Z resumed with the rides. I had to make sure I got my money's worth from his wrist band. We stayed for another hour or two. Our visit was cut a little short when a woman in her fifties took offense at Z not standing still in line. She went so far as to call Z that despicable "r" word and taunt him with her friend, another middle-aged woman. Security was called. By the time the smoke had cleared she had run off and Miguel and I decided it was time to call it a day. It wasn't exactly the best way to end a day in which I was trying to take a mental break from narrow-minded adults at home but most of the day was lovely and the incident afforded me the opportunity to talk in depth with Z about what he should do when someone is acting crazy or he thinks he's about to get into a confrontation- namely, get me. I want to come back soon, though next time I think we will avoid the rides pass. I think we pushed our luck with waiting in that many lines under such exciting circumstances.
I think a certain little girl was ready to go home anyhow.