It's a 2006 Hyundai Elantra with about 30,000 miles. We've had it almost a week, and Jake loves it. However, we're seeing some electrical issues we didn't notice before, so hopefully we can get them fixed without much hassle.
This weekend was our second wedding anniversary, so Jake and I went to Mendocino, where I lived for 2 1/2 years. Most people would probably kill to live near the beach every day, but when you're 8 or 9 years old and can't really swim, the water doesn't do much for you. Also, you need to see people or go to the mall. And more than three FM stations would be nice. Thank goodness MTV still regularly played music videos when I was a kid, or else I never would have known about Janet Jackson or Paula Abdul or Duran Duran.
Still, I made some good memories with Jake this weekend. We stayed at a nice cabin right off Highway 1 in Little River; it's part of a set of bungalows called the Andiron. We went past my old house in Mendocino, which looked a little worse for wear, but then again, I lived there almost 20 years ago. After that, we drove up to the North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg and found some 12 percent beer that did us in very quickly. We sobered up by getting a brownie (not pot-infused, thank goodness) at a local - read: non-Starbucks - coffee shop, then meandering down the main drag and seeing how many businesses had moved on since I was last there. Sadly but not surprisingly, there were a lot of empty storefronts.
We returned to the cabin, then woke early the next morning to check out and then tour Mendocino. We drove in front of my old school, which has become a K-8 school; it used to be just a grammar school next door to the middle school. We then went into the "downtown" area, which consists of a handful of streets. The post office was still there; so was the big grocery store, Mendosa's. I walked into the bookstore where I spent much of my allowance and birthday money on "Baby-Sitters Club" books. I didn't spend any money there this time, but I was tempted! We bought some gifts for friends and family at various food and clothing shops, then checked out the water from the headlands. Jake took many pictures of waves crashing against the rocks. We would have actually walked onto a beach, but it was an extremely windy day, so the water was ridiculously choppy and likely very cold. I stood on a bluff and watched the waves smack the rocks as they came ashore. Jake, meanwhile, jumped down into an area with some tidepools, then leapfrogged from rock to rock to take photos. He was especially amazed by the view from the high school. The school's track has a pretty clear view of the ocean, so you can run laps while looking at the sea. A fantastic distraction from exercise, to be sure!
We left Mendocino at about 4 p.m. and headed up to Highway 20 (but not before a detour to the grocery store for some of that 12 percent beer). We wanted to connect to Highway 101 and reach Healdsburg - another one of my former towns - at about 6:30, so we could get food and watch the Lakers game before continuing the rest of the way home. We found a brewery that was showing the game, and it was a great thing we stopped, because the Lakers were kicking ass and taking the Celtics' names. Yeah, baby!
I also saw a girl with whom I went to school from fifth to 11th grade. She said she recognized me, but she couldn't remember my name at first. She invited me to the high school reunion, but I told her I moved before graduation. She said the organizing committee wasn't limiting the guest list to graduates, and I told her I would think about it. I've never seriously considered going to either of my high school reunions. I just figured I was never really a part of either school, but I did graduate from one of them. So maybe I would go to the reunion for the school from which I got my diploma? I don't know; I consider WSU my school far more than any of the elementary or secondary schools I attended. The only context in which I've thought about high school these past 10 years is that I had to get through it to reach college, which is where life really began for me.