I’ve been MIA around here! And not this kind –

Mia Farrow
(BTW, check out her website for excellent updates on Darfur and how you might help)

We were not cast underground by the latest Southland earthquakes. We were not carted off to Oz by a tornado. We did not encounter Isaac anywhere.

Fenwick decided that even though we are about .0000001% of the 1%, economically speaking, that it was time we had a vacation anyway. He surprised Seymour and I, after apparently planning for hours, to take a little trip. And you know I couldn’t possibly mean a drug induced one, because we are too cash strapped on top of not playing on that particular team.

First, Fenwick planned ahead. He decided on a Friday that we should leave the next morning. First he acknowledged that we had no budget at all to speak of, so we would have to stay in the car which took care of hotel reservations. Determining that we could afford one half of an extra tank of gas, he set our course by the Caddy’s mileage. This determined that we could travel no more than 76.5 miles “there” and back. Next was determining where “there” might take us. It would have to be scenic, with overnight parking. He chose Cabrillo Beach for a lovely fishing and beach holiday. Planning meals was next. He surreptitiously pocketed Friday’s leftovers from Denny’s, plus a bottle of ketchup, a couple empty water bottles from the dumpster; pinched a bag of bread from an old lady feeding pigeons at the park and scored a discarded Starbucks card with $5 still on it. He was richly set to go!

Next, Fenwick did his homework. He carefully planned our itinerary. We would explore the beautiful Cabrillo Beach area, around the L.A. Harbor, which was full of quiet places to park the Caddy for some restful nights sleep.

He planned visits to Angel’s Gate lighthouse, Avrill Park to enjoy our breakfast of leftover pancakes and partial muffins with the Starbucks card’s worth of coffee, to the Arcade building where the fountain wold yield some parking change, to Fisherman’s Wharf to catch some lunch with our dental floss fishing lines and to the Bogdanovich Rec Center so Seymour might meet an eligible young single mom for a bit of holiday romance.

Next, Fenwick set our priorities. You have to decide what’s more important, a lovely place to stay or enjoying fun things to do. Having no budget, priorities were rather predetermined based on what was free in the area. Needing parking change, our locations were determined by the location of fountains that did not attract large crowds.

Fenwick then craftily stocked up. We would, of course, need toiletry items. And what better place to find travel sized items than in the Dollar’s dumpster! Housekeeping has to dispose of any items left by guests, used or not. And most guests don’t use the items. Several of the housekeeping ladies keep them and take them home, but two of them do not, as they are allergic to the ingredients. These were the ladies Fenwick followed about Friday and collected shampoos, soaps, bathing caps, cotton swabs and floss from.

Fenwick covered all aspects of being prepared. Not wanting to miss any opportunity for potential fun, Fenwick asked Madame Whoopee for some free samples from her condom basket for himself and Seymour.

All ready to go, Fenwick sprung his plan on us Friday night. Well, Seymour and I were delighted! We all love the beach and we were quite impressed with Fenwick’s hard work at preparing our trip.

We packed up the car, leaving room for comfortable slumber, and headed out.

Fenwick parked us under a bridge with overnight parking for Friday night, and wouldn’t you know it, the overnight parking was suspended that night in advance of a parade the next day. We were booted out by a churlish officer who apparently had no appreciation for frugal travelers. We had to spend the change we had on an overnight parking lot whose larcenous attendant also required the Caddy’s vintage hood ornament in exchange for a space.

Saturday morning found us without breakfast, as Fenwick had accidentally slept on it and left it in an inedible crumb state. The Starbuck’s card got us some coffee, and we dipped the bread into it pretending it was low-cal donuts. Imagination does help.

We set off for the Arcade building, but it was full of tourists and we were unable to procure parking change. Then it was off to the Rec Center. That’s where things got interesting.

Seymour met a lovely young mom who told him she was single. Unfortunately, she apparently wasn’t single. When her 6’2″, 250 pound husband showed up to surprise her and their daughter, he also surprised Seymour amorously rubbing the young woman’s back. Long story short, our next stop became the free urgent care clinic. They were very nice there and said that Seymour’s eye and lip should heal in about a month, and that he should stay out of the sun.

Well, this changed our plans again. It was back to L.A. for some free fun there. Hollywood does not provide cheap parking anywhere. We found a place to park about three miles away from Hollywood Boulevard, and took a lovely summer hike to the town’s lively festivities.

It’s no surprise then that Fenwick and Seymour’s pockets were picked. Seymour lost his pain pills and Fenwick lost all of Madame Whoopee’s free condoms. The most painful for Fenwick was losing the photo of his Mom that he always carried in his wallet to elicit pity from bank officers. I don’t know if he’ll be able to persuade her to have that many casts put on again for another photo.

The rudest surprise was when, at the end of the day, we walked back to where the Caddy was parked and found it gone. It took us several days to scrounge enough bus fare to get back to the Dollar, where the manager had turned off our electricity as we were supposed to still be on vacation and he was attending a “Manager’s Roundup” meeting in Tulsa. We were out of WIFI for another several days.

We spent our first candlelit evening back counting our blessings: We are all alive and still together. Fenwick has most of his memory. Madame Whoopee let us do our laundry in between the ladies’ loads. We’re darned good-looking. We’re Southern proud. We know how to open cans without a can opener. We can whistle on key. We have the exact right number of toes. We have many blessings.

And that was our vacation.

I’m back now. The Dollar manager returned and powered our room up again, so the WIFI is on again.

It’s nice to be back. It turned out the Caddy was towed, and we finally got it back yesterday. Seymour came home with a new mermaid hood ornament. And Mother Crabby told Fenwick she’d send another sympathy photo with a “surprise” look. I shudder to imagine.

I hope all has been well with you, hons, and that you’ve enjoyed your last few weeks of summer.

IB Crabby


  1. Pingback: THE NON-VACATION VACATION | Irmagarde Crabby's Parlor

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