Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Post as Long as our Trip

Our 1600 mile journey to Fresno officially started last Saturday morning, and we safely arrived from Texas on Monday late afternoon. And to write down all that transpired in that time...well, let's not. The daily recap will be long enough!

Thursday: Thanks to Glynda, Debbie, and Mom for the help packing up the rest of the house!

Friday: Thanks to Dad, Big Mike, Charles, Julie, and Chris for moving boxes and loading up the trucks. It went so smoothly due to the skills of the master packer, Greg, and the muscles of the rest. Moreover, having both grandmas watching Owen and his friend Ryan at Chisholm Park made it even easier.

Saturday: After a small delay (Skeeter, one of Lee and Stephanie's cats, got sick and had to go the vet), we pulled out around 10 am. One Penske truck towing the Japanese Suburban and one Honda packed to the brim with enough stuff to entertain Owen for the day....or so we thought. Actually, he did quite well. After lunch stops, fuel stops, and potty stops, we lodged for the night in Tecumcari, NM.

We did stop for dinner at the Big Texan in Amarillo.

If you've ever driven I-40, you're familiar with the sign after sign advertising the FREE 72 OZ STEAK!. If you've seen the movie "The Great Outdoors", then you're familiar with consequences of attempting to eat such a large quantity of meat. Although I saw Michael and Lee think about it, we were content just to watch the 40 year old man AND the 12 year old boy attempt to eat the following in under an hour: 1 72 oz steak, 3 fried shrimp, 1 loaded baked potato, and a side salad. WOW!


The man was successful while the boy...well, he's just a boy. So, free meal for one and a free trip to the restroom for the brave middle-schooler. At least now we can say we've been there, seen that. :)

Sunday: One good day down, two to go. Steph drove the Civic, and today was O-town's day to drive us crazy. Praise be to Sushi and Grammie, though, for the killer combination of the portable DVD player and "Cars" movie. Whew...my child can talk...until the headphones go on. At one point, Stephanie asked if it would be wrong to let him watch a movie for the next 1000 miles. Sweet, patient Aunt Nini survived until we bedded down in Kingman, AZ after a long day and an evening where Spitting Mad Owen made his return. :( But, we've figured out a solution...spit and you lose Spooky Bear for an amount of time. If you've seen Owen with this bear, you know that's us pulling out the big guns. So far, we've only had to take him once.

Monday: At this point, everyone is like "are we there yet?" God bless the pioneers for continuing on through the territories all the way to California. Lee drove with me on day 3, and he kept bringing up the enduring spirit of the Okies in the Great Depression. I mean, you've got to wonder if you'll ever get to the farmlands of California when you're in the Mohave. But we made it to Fresno and unloaded about 3/4 of the truck before bedtime. Wanna see where? Here are photos of the outside of our new home.

This is the entrance. As one of our new neighbors said, "Welcome to the Marie Antoinette!"

This is the view of our place upstairs (note boxes on balcony) from the center courtyard. It's a Melrose Place style complex with all the units overlooking a central spot with the pool.

Here's the view from our apartment downstairs.
And, yes, Mom, I will post pictures of the inside when we're more unpacked. And, yes, Dad, there is a recycle bin for all residents.

Tuesday: Day to unpack with the help of Uncle Lee and Aunt Nini. We finished unloading the truck, took a dip in the pool, and sent them on their way in their rented convertible to the coast. They came back on Saturday after a great trip visiting Steph's old friends and family in San Luis Obispo. I realized this trip how much time Stephanie spends (endures?) with our family, while so many of her relatives are far away. So thank you Steph for sharing your time with us, and thank you Lee for being such a good friend and hubby to her on y'all's trip out to S.L.O.

Wednesday-Friday: We've been trying to balance work and play. Owen helps out on the play part because he wants some attention and he helps out on the work part because I've got to put this stuff away before he gets into it. KWIM moms? So, Michael's been a jewel. He and Owen have found a great park in Fresno (Woodward Park) to play frisbee, soccer, and feed the ducks. He's helping Owen turn into a little fish in our pool. And they've played a lot of basketball on Owen's little goal in the courtyard before I bring them sandwiches to eat at the patio furniture downstairs.

With all that help, the boxes are almost all unpacked. The remaining to do list is mostly hanging pictures and doing decorative stuff. With all that done and it being hotter than sin outside in the afternoon, we tooking advantage of our first coupon and went bowling. It was Owen's first full game on his own. I think he outbowled Michael, but it could have been the bumpers.
They didn't actually have shoes for feet so small...these are mine.

Looking down the lane at the world's slowest moving ball.

If you know Owen, you know he has an angry face. But he's not spitting. HA!


And if you know Owen, you also know he has a sweet happy face too! Bowling was a hit, but he could only last one game. Taking turns with Mom and Dad can wear any toddler out.

Saturday: Owen and I walked to the Farmer's Market by our house. He loved it.

Here's the market. It's covered by this long arbor full of grapevines.

I wish I had a picture, but at one point, he had a fig in one hand and an apricot in the other with peach juice running down his arms and shirt. No farmer lady can resist his little face peeking out over their table. He loved it! And with full farms just 15 minutes from downtown Fresno, this stuff is Fresh with a capital F. Yummy, yummy!

Lee and Steph arrived back in Fresno Saturday evening. We swam and ate dinner at a sushi place in town.

For Fresno lurkers, we can now comment on the following restaurants:

The Sumo Grill in Fig Gardens: Quick teriyaki bowls and Udon noodles. Free kids' meals after 4 and lots of sports on the TV. We watched Fresno State win game 2 of the College Baseball World Series here. Go Bulldogs!

Don Miguel's Taqueria on Blackstone: AMAZING! Get there before the lunch rush because this place was hopping! So yummy! Owen inhaled his fish taco, and Michael ate his enchiladas in record time!

World's Best Taqueria on Blackstone: I actually can't remember the name, but the sign said World's Best. I had the shrimp ceviche tostada, and it was almost as good as Mom's.

Chop Suey Chinese Restaurant on Blackstone: "Dim Sum good food!" Michael said. Aside from the fact that I had to endure Michael trying to make plays on words with "dim sum", it was a delightfully fresh and yummy meal. A limited dim sum menu on weeknights makes us want to go back for the full menu on a Sunday lunch.

The Naked Fish on First: The sushi was a good as the service was bad. If you're patient, it's worth the wait! Speaking of patience, here's a video Aunt Nini took of Owen's drawn out attempt at chopsticks. Luckily, he got his food first, so we had the time.


video

Weinerschnitzel on Shaw: Well, who doesn't love the Weinerschnitzel? I'd sing the song my mom taught me for it, but just count your blessings that this is a visual, not audio version of my blog.

"Der Weinerschnitzel, Der Weinerschinitzel!
Ya, dis must be the place.
You drive right in,
They stick a great big hot dog in your face! Ya!"

Now that the kitchen is unpacked, we're back to eating at home, but it was good while it lasted.

Sunday: Lee and Steph got to the airport on time, and our family joined another to worship at a church in Easton (just outside of Fresno in a farming community). This is the only family we knew in Fresno pre-move, and they so graciously invited us to church. It was nice to catch up with Sarah, who I knew through the Fuller wives group in Pasadena, and for our kiddos to play together.

Michael and Rob talked community psychology for he's a pastor preparing for a deployment in the Air Force as a chaplain. Owen played with Katie, Emma, and David. I so appreciate their hospitality, and Owen was very much in need of some time with kiddos. Tomorrow, we have a playdate with Sarah again and our mutual friend Rebecca is in town from nearby Delphi, so everyone's coming over to our place.

Yeah, I'm crazy to have people over, but Owen needs to have his room broken in some time, don't you think?

Updates on that later...thanks for reading this incredibly long post. Like the title says, the post was almost as long as our Trip. ALMOST...

This post brought to you by Penske Truck Rental (2 thumbs up), U-Haul boxes (since picked up from a Fresno Craigslister), Interstate 40, rest stops funded by the taxpayers of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, Motel 6, overpriced gasoline stations galore, and
"Herbie: Fully Loaded"...now Owen's 2nd favorite movie next to "Cars". Thanks Grandma Sushi!

3 comments:

Julie said...

Those were just the very details I needed! The place looks beautiful! I am very jealous of the fresh fruit and such a great looking farmer's market!

On a sad note, Ryan has been asking about Owen about 20 thousand times a day. Anytime we go to the pool he asks and anytime we are going to bed he lays down on the floor and says "owen night night?" near the spot where Owen and he slept on the floor.

But, hey, maybe we will be there next week!

And Charles is watching me type this and laughing because he says I mouth the words I am typing. I think I do and now I am fighting against it...

Patty said...

Loved your blog, Natalie! Thanks for sharing the adventures of the Arnold family with all of us.
Patty

Susan @ Blessed Assurances said...

so glad you are updating again...I thought you were still on hiatus but you did 3 since then and I am so happy to hear the updates.

Owen and I would make great partners at an eating contest where you have to use chopsticks. I can't even lift my food out of the bowl!

Have fun in fresno!