My sister Melissa was married on Sat and I just don't know that the King's are cut out for weddings! The wedding was beautiful, it's always the day after that is the pits.
The celebration was held in Carbondale IL, and on Sunday morning I am riding back up north with my brother Alex. We both had a lot of fun the night before and I found myself wondering if I could actually survive the 5 hr road trip. We need gas before we get on the highway, Note: my last blog post is when the King's began trend-setting gas station stories!! I had the passenger seat reclined all the way back and have my eyes closed while Alex fuels up. When my brother stepped back into the car and announced "Oh sh*t". I open one eye and say, "Don't even tell me you lost the keys!" He laughs and sticks the key into the ignition and says, "No, Meg...but I wonder what would happen if I filled up my gas tank with Diesel fuel". "Hmmmm, it's really probably not great, but...we better call Dad to be sure."
"You gotta be $%#**ing kidding me, he screams into the phone. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU KIDS!!??!!" Then Dad asks if we've turned the ignition on...which we hadn't, and I feel very triumphant relaying that information! He's with my mom at the reception site picking up the table cloths from the reception last night. He says that my Uncle Jeff (a different Uncle Jeff from the previous wedding blog) is probably not too far behind us and to call him until he can meet us. Uncle Jeff just laughs when we tell him that we filled up the gas tank with diesel fuel, "I'm surprised the Diesel nozzle would even FIT into Alex's tank". Which, Alex admitted in a defeated yet sarcastic tone, "It was difficult, but I guess I'm NOT a quitter!" Uncle Jeff, only a few miles behind us, assures that he's pulling over but has no idea who we can find to drop the gas tank. I call my sister Meredith next. I am not sure why I am even laughing as Mere and her boyfriend pulled into the gas station. Perhaps it's the fierce hangover kicking in, or the nerves of my uneasy stomach, but I really can't believe we are stranded at another gas station! I speak to the attendant and she tells us "$h*t happins, good luck git-ina mechanic on-er Sunday!"
We know we need the gas out of the tank, so I suggest siphoning it out with a long plastic tube and a bucket! I saw Dad empty our large fish tank this way when I was a kid! Meredith's boyfriend says he will drive Mere's car to Wallmart if Alex wants to pick up the stuff. Mere and I wait for uncle Jeff while the boys take off, and when he arrives he is with my Aunt Linnie and cousin Danielle. This is beginning to look like a circus and we are managing to attract attention in Southern Illinois! People want to help us, but the only dude that sticks around keeps mumbling something about free gas. He is actually circling the car and I wish now that I had saved the snapchats I kept taking of him. Uncle Jeff thinks that siphoning could work!! He doesn't have any other leads, as nothing else seems to be open. My cell rings...and its Alex. They got a hose and a bucket...but Meredith's car won't start now and he assumes the ignition key is still in Meredith's purse! Gah, so Uncle Jeff is on his way to Wallmart to bring them the car keys when Mom and Dad pull into the gas station. We crack the window to hear Dad talking the creepy mumbling guy, and both parents are delighted to find that Uncle Jeff is now rescuing Alex from Wallmart.
We were one happy family! I think the mood actually peaked when we stuck the hose into the gas tank and realized that a 2015 car had a filter over the tank to prevent people from SYPHONING GAS! This is when I opened a beer, my aunt even handed me one of Melissa's wedding koozies cause things were gonna get worse before they got any better.
So, Uncle Jeff and Dad push the car off the cement so the car is leaning to one side, they spread out one of Melissa's wedding tablecloths to lay on. Uncle Jeff is the keeper of all the tools and fortunately, he could get under the car to eventually un-attach the tank. Now we are able to bypass the filter and get the hose into the tank to siphon. It takes for-flipping-ever to get 10 gallons of gas through a tube the width of my finger! But 6 hours later, the mumbling guy is still circling us for free gas—this turned out to be a great thing because we weren't sure how to dispose of 10 gallons of diesel fuel that had been mixed with regular. The sun was setting as we finally arrived home, but we were looking forward to spending a week together in Mexico for the after party!
This is a blog I started writing awhile ago, now that I am reading it again - I think that it is worth posting.
My cousin, Patrick got married in Pittsburgh on Saturday but it was just one of those weekends that starts off on the wrong foot. Some clown set the air traffic control tower on fire Thursday to avoid his job relocation from the Chicago Suburbs to Hawaii. All flights from Midway, O’hare, and Rockford were canceled for the entire weekend, so our only option was to drive. All the rental cars in Chicago had been booked due to the closed airports so we picked up one of the stranded bridesmaids and our car is very packed! Traffic is bumper to bumper on I80E so it takes us 13 hours to get there. Fortunately, my parents were already planning to fly to Myrtle Beach with their friends on Sunday so my sister, brother and I can drive their car back to Illinois at our leisure.
My favorite memories are made with my three siblings and we were especially excited because we don't see this side of the family often. The wedding was pretty, and as we board the shuttle to the reception site my brother hands out beer!
As soon as we enter the reception, my sister Meredith orders the four of us shots of vodka. She explains that there aren’t options, vodka is what they are using in their signature cocktail and it's room temperature because they aren't supposed to be serving shots. I rolled my eyes because Meredith could charm the devil himself. We choke the vodka back, dance, drink more, rinse and repeat. Getting up on Sunday was not fun and the 9 hour drive home taunted us! My sister Melissa left at 7am to catch her flight home to Jacksonville, and my parents went with her to catch their flight to Myrtle Beach.
Finding your way through Pittsburgh with a hangover is the definition of hell. The one-way roads are windy and the hills cause the GPS to cut in and out. The Steelers traffic isn't helping and the GPS is on a continuous reroute "make a U-turn, take the next right—make a U-turn—left on Pen—re-routing". Meredith insisted that I change her British accent immediately!
We finally make it into Ohio and decide to stop to fuel up at the cleaner-than-Indiana’s rest stop. Alex and I sit down with our Panera-pagers while Meredith goes to the restroom. It is when I set our food on the table that I see her running across the rest stop towards us. I assume she got sick from all of the vodka shots and begin giggling. Her face is flushed and she announces that we have a huge problem. “I hadn’t realized my shirt was inside out when I got dressed in the dark, and I was holding the car key in this hand—but when I took my shirt off it flew into the toilet. There was a motion sensor, so it automatically flushed."
I'll leave out the 30 mins of panic and skip to our research. We asked security to snake the toilet—no keys, but they did assure us that this happens all the time...?! The Acura dealership is closed on Sundays and with the VIN they can't get a new key made until Wednesday. The locksmith can’t unlock our 2015 vehicle because...something about a transporter and the ignition shutting down to protect from auto theft.
We all had to work the following day and we were 8 hours from home. A rental car wasn't an option because our ID's are in the locked Acura. Between the three of us, we have twenty-some dollars in cash and three nearly-dead cell phones. My brother says, "If anyone can figure this all out its Dad", but Dad hangs up on us. After the horrible drive out to Pittsburgh on Friday, he actually thinks we are joking!
We eventually get Dad on the phone while he is laid over in North Carolina. Maybe Uncle Craig can go to my parent's house, get the spare key and drive 8 hours to Ohio? After some arguing, we learn that my Mom has the spare key in her purse. Mom gets on her flight and Dad plans to FexEx the key to a nearby hotel. However, the North Carolina airport does not have a FedEx drop box.
It is too late in the day to send a same-day delivery. My dad is furious that he is now required to purchase a $900 seat on the next flight to Pittsburgh just to bring us a key! It leaves in two hours...except he wonders why he has to be ON the flight? Now he starts walking down the security line asking "Anybody going to Pittsburgh, anyone to Pittsburgh?" nobody...for an hour. Just as the rage begins to overwhelm him, a little woman says "Yes, I am going to Pittsburgh".
The woman's name is Jean, and Dad explains that he needs her to meet my Aunt Pat at the Pittsburgh Airport when she arrives. As he hands his only remaining car key to her, he has to talk himself out of an arrest. The security guard insists that he cannot hand anything off to a passenger that he clearly does not know. Dad argued that if their scanner works properly, they will be able to tell if the key is hazardous. He insists that they can arrest him if she does not pass security. Upon getting through the security gates, Dad asked Jean for her cell number. Jean flipped open her phone and decided that she didn't know her own number, so he settled with: "Look for a sign that reads: Alex King"
My Aunt Pat was at the reception site cleaning up her son's wedding when my Dad calls to tell her of his game plan. He asks her to drive an hour north to the Pittsburgh airport to meet Jean with the key, and then drive two hours west to meet us in Ohio. A mere 8 hours of laying in the grass at Ohio Rest-opia, my Aunt Pat and Uncle Jeff arrive. They even packed a care package of sandwiches, water, and cookies. 18 hours after our hotel departure we arrive at my parent's house, 2 additional hours back to Chicago—but we all made it back to work on Monday morning! Team Dad!
I took my first red eye from San Francisco this morning; my head is bobbing as I write. I had the most amazing time there and because my friend Sid runs an AirBnB, I was able to spend time with really interesting people. Truth be told, I met Sid two years ago when I happened to stay at his AirBnB, we have since become friends and I am convinced that he is the most welcoming host alive.
Last weekend, a girl named Clover from Beijing was staying with Sid too. I found her to be inspiring. She is passionate about writing and her goal each day is, to sum up what she remembers from the day before in only three sentences. Three sentences are easily obtainable because it’s not too much that you procrastinate the task. It is a great experiment and since my mode of thought is drawing, I would like to implement something similar for my sketchbook. As it happens, she works for AirBnB and was in town for their national conference. We talked for a while about traveling and how she likes working for Airbnb. These conversations really provoked some thought. Clover had listened to a speaker describe how stressful travel can be, managing your workload the few days before, packing and securing accommodations. Once they arrive in said city, they might have many things that they want to accomplish and not everything always goes as planned. People can return home feeling that they need a vacation from their vacation! I suppose that I never thought about what traveling means to other people.
My travel goals have changed over the years. For example, I used to think that because I am an artist that I needed to stop at every art museum in the city. I might still quickly walk through on a rainy day or if the right time presents itself but my goals today revolve around socializing. I actually prefer staying in hostels or an AirBnB that has a shared living space to a hotel room. It would seem obvious that someone like myself would have realized that sooner, meeting friends has always been a priority for me! I still experience culture; like Clover explained, “…it is learning about the culture that is alive today ”! I prefer to go with the flow and take everything in – it is amazing the connections you make with people that you think are so different from yourself. It is much more enjoyable for me to hang out with someone from the city – listen to their music and eat the food they recommend. This makes it possible to have an emotional attachment to that city, how people and the new environment make me feel. I will remember those experiences far longer than I will remember the two days I spent walking through the Louvre.
San Francisco is young and embraces change; it is an exciting place to be! I am having trouble concentrating this week, and I know that I need to put a plan into action soon. We tend to get caught up with our day-to-day, but travel can be a glimpse into what the rest of the world is accomplishing. It is difficult to put yourself into vulnerable situations, but I’ve learned that I am a lot more aware of my surroundings when I am just a little uncomfortable. It is a good reminder to try new things, and you just never know when I might collaborate with Clover or any of the other kick-ass people I’ve met along the way.