Controlled Substances, "Friends" & Starbucks...
The last leg of the trip proved to be the most uneventful. It was a long drive and the various highways offered little in the way of visual stimulation, but knowing that we would end the day with family was definitely the light at the end of the tunnel. I was dissapointed in my home state - as we crossed the Arizona/California state line we were greeted with a small green sign that simply said "Welcome to California". No "hoopla" or fan fare, but in the middle of the desert, I guess I shouldn't expect too much. Within minutes of entering California, we came upon an inspection check point. For some reason I immediately panicked. What would they be checking for and how was I going to explain the bag full of Joey's medications, much more than is typically needed and almost all of them considered "controlled substances". As we approached the officer who could have very easily passed as Barney Fife's twin brother, I rolled down my window and smiled. He asked where we were from and no kidding, the first word that almost passed my lips was "valium". I didn't know how I as going justify the amount of valium we had with us for Joey's seizures. Thankfully, I replied "Alabama" and Deputy Fife went on to ask if I had any plants, seeds, livestock, fruits, nuts, wild animals, etc. with me. I told him that at various times my children resembled wild animals and after driving from Alabama I was a little "nutty" but other than that, we weren't transporting any of the items he listed. He told us to have a safe trip and sent us on our way.
After a few hours we made our way onto Interstate 5. It was during this leg of the trip that I remembered what a certain part of I-5 is famous, or infamous, for - a very distinct odor from the hundreds of acres that are home to cattle at the Harris Ranch. If you are ever on I-5 in California, you have to have lunch/dinner at the Harris Ranch. Since it was time to feed Joey and Gia and I needed a break from the car - we decided this would be the perfect place to stop. Lunch was amazing - just as I remembered the few times I had been there before in my "younger" days.
We finally made our way to Terri's home, getting lost just once and I can't tell you how incredible it felt to have completed our trip to California. As I looked back on my map last night, I'm really proud of myself and the kids for doing this. Gionna was nothing short of incredible in all the responsibilities she took on to help me. Joey, well, Joey had just one bad episode, but considering all of the things that could have gone wrong, he was really a very good traveler.
We all slept like babies last night - Joey slept in his own bed and loved it. Gia and I fell asleep after watching Season 8 of Friends, one of our favorte shows. It was so nice to wake up this morning and not have to pack up the van again and drive 600 miles. We will stay here for a few days before driving to Napa Valley. Tonight we will be having a "Mexican Fiesta" with just about 12 of our family members and then tomorrow is the big reunion. My cousin, Valery, just arrived a few minutes ago from Virginia and in the next hour or so, more people should be arriving. Oh, and did I mention that my cousin, Terri, has Starbucks coffee......in her home!!! Heaven, I'm in Heaven! I just made another pot of coffee - oh how I have missed my mid-day espresso jolts!
Joey's morning started off just fine, but by 10:00 a.m. his seizures began again. An extra dose of Phenobarbital was not very effective in stopping this round of seizures so we had to give Joey Diastat and fortunately, just one dose did the trick. Joey is asleep now and hopefully will be awake for tonight's festivities.
Thank you for following our adventures. We miss all of our Alabama friends. A very big thank you to my neighbor, Chris, and his family for taking care of Rocco this past week. Now, Rocco will be in the loving care of FF Cliff and his crazy wife, Jess....Thanks guys!
Until next time, remember....
Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author Unknown