When you take Interstate 5 and pass Coalinga, you drive past a gigantic field of cows. I've become pretty adept at quickly turning off the a/c and fan in the car lest we get overwhelmed by the stench of wet cow and manure -- unless you're a fan of Calvin Klein's new cologne Eau de Vache Humide et Merde. Even with all of the ventilation off in the car, you still get a little whiff of bovine bowel. Just as we finished passing the cow patties, we started hearing someone coughing in the back; it was either one of the kids or asthmatic Uncle Akio. It was Andrew, and he was coughing and wheezing and contorting his face into all kind of crazy. I guess the smell of cow poop was too much for him, although it's not like Andrew's Eau de Merde doesn't smell.
We arrived at Santa Clara with no problem, and the kids adjusted to their new bedroom fairly quick. What they did not get used to was hardwood floors and steps. When Emma and Andrew started walking around on their socks for the first time, it looked like a bunch of first time ice skaters being chased by a loose zamboni. We also had to teach the kids how to get up and down steps by telling them to sit down and scoot down to the next level. Unfortunately, it took them a few times and falls to get a hang of it. Fortunately, the kids' black hair covered up all of their head lacerations and bruises.
Our plan was to stay in Santa Clara until Christmas and leave for Sacramento before their first nap. This meant that Lisa's mom had to be on her best behavior for five nights and four days or else she knew she would be featured in this blog. She knows what I do with Crazy Grandma Ichikawa, and Grandma Ichinaga wants no part of it.
Except for the annual Ichinaga Christmas Eve senior citizen orgy (BYOD - bring your own Depends), Grandma Ichinaga did nothing to embarrass herself. Although...I do have one story.
Grandma Ichinaga has this stainless steel gum drop tree. It should look something like this:
Grandma Ichinaga was having a hard time finding gum drops to put on the tree, so she resorted to Sour Patch Kids. Is it me or is there something not so holiday-ish about seeing little kids impaled by silver tree branches? I'm sure there must be a culture out there that celebrates the holidays with presents, egg nog, and impaled children on pine trees, but it sure isn't this one. Here are a few pictures of the tree.
**MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR SOUR PATCH KIDS UNDER 13**
Christmas Eve came up really fast, and practically all of Lisa's family was there: Auntie Susan, Uncle Kerry, Cousin Jamie, Cousin Kevin & Shelvey, Uncle Mike, Cousin Matthew and Gracie, Uncle Wes, Auntie Chieko, Uncle Joey, Auntie Rosa, Cousin Jason and Jacob -- basically enough Asians to populate the It's A Small World Asia diorama. Emma and Andrew were tentative at first, but soon enjoyed being around their gigantic Ichinaga family.
Cousin Jason, who is 9, had an observation about me. As I was sitting on the floor, Jason walked up to my head and started looking at it.
"Wow! Uncle Scott! You have lots of white hair!" shouted an astonished Jason.
"Umm. Oh. Yah, I have some white hair," I responded.
"I mean you have LOTS of white hair! Not some!"
"Man...how old are you? That's a lot of white hair! Wow!"
Minutes later, Jason was still in shock by my bevy of white hairs. Smartly I diverted his attention, but it too failed.
Jason just ended up exclaiming,"Wow! Uncle Scott! You also have lots of white hair on your ass!"
CHRISTMAS (Not Really A) BREAK: PART 2 -- SACRAMENTO tomorrow!