Caleb took me to lunch as our last meal together before four days apart. I ate half my rice at noon and prepared for the haboob at 4:15. I only had to endure the high winds for ten minutes before it started to rain. The change of weather was beautiful and I appreciated the zen atmosphere before the dark roads of Phoenix were upon me. I arrived to my dad’s shortly after 6pm Thursday night and joined him for dinner at El Conquistador at 7:45 with Kirk. They played Words With Friends while I slowly ate my spinach-mushroom quesadilla and helped myself to some of my dad’s beans.
Back at the house, while waiting on Caroline to return, we discussed the past and its work to get us into the present and how that will affect our future. I always enjoy my dad’s theories, lessons, and ideas, and though sometimes intense and perhaps a bit overwhelming, they are always educational and motivational. Caroline showed up to put us to bed after 10:45.
I’m still feeling exhausted when I wake up Friday morning from the broken sleep, congestion and headache not helping, of last night. I’m still laying down when they leave and I am slow to shower and don’t eat breakfast till 10am. I get to Kwality Ice Cream ten minutes before opening. I think some fig & walnut and blueberry cheesecake samples will help me study for midterms and complete homework that’s due this week.
Customer influx is slow, but there are family friends coming and going to help with preparation for tonight’s garba (a Gujarati folk dance performed as a fertility ritual) and tomorrow’s wedding. I closed up at 9pm and met Caroline at the house, mid-instruction from Dad on how to use the projector for her guild meeting. We got changed into our tight pants and long tops, added some jewelry, and were ready to join the party.
We showed up to the Indo-American Cultural Center in time to see the children finish their dance and then headed outside to line up for faloodah and socializing. Back inside, we sat for a bit and counted the steps of the garba before grabbing some dandiya sticks and attempting to join. We couldn’t help but notice that it seemed to come to a screeching halt soon after and one guy took the lead to get us started again – more than once, which is no longer our fault.
We had fun and then went back to watching others dance until it was time to watch the screen. The family and friends had put a picture slide together along with voice recordings of their memories and blessings. It was sweet and brought tears to some eyes in the crowd. We left them to finish their private goodbyes to get back to the house by midnight. I was grateful for the invite and the opportunity into an intimate part of their Northern Indian culture. Having a community like this is great for helping each other along with children, school, work, and happiness.
Caroline and I didn’t have this in our German and American childhoods, and it’s not something we see much of today, though I think communal living is catching on, it’s definitely not the same as being able to see grandparents, cousins, and best friends influence you to be a better person and to love yourself. Indians share food, dance if they can, and put others’ needs before their own. They all ask about my dad who is sitting at the house after another long day at the office.
We went to bed after 1:00am and I was still up by 6:30 Saturday morning to join them for breakfast at The Wagon Yard. I’d been there a few times, but this was the first that I needed the cowgirls room and got to know the size of this place. It’s twice as large as I thought inside, complete with billiards table, and has outside seating with a place for horseshoes. We enjoyed our food with laughs around the table and I’m reminded of Kirk’s new nickname for me – sock-puppet, earned at dinner when I thought he wasn’t paying attention.
Kirk took Dad to work and Caroline dropped me to grab my books before I joined her at the AZ Desert Weavers and Spinners Guild meeting. There were snacks to share, books to buy, others’ projects to eye, a table covered in items to be raffled, and the presentation table – two women talked about their trip to Peru in the spring of 2012 and showed us a bit of what they saw and how much they learned during their excursion. The thing that most caught my eye was the works of Maximo Laura and his 3D weaving abilities.
I had to watch the time and leave early. I had triple booked my morning 1) guild meeting with Caroline from 10 to noon, 2) breakfast and or lunch with Grandma (who is in California at the moment), and 3) offered to come to the shop at 11am and open up so the wedding cake could be finished. Around 3pm a woman called to order seven tubs of ice cream. I found the flavors and put them in freezer bags for her, and put it into the computer, and three hours later she walked in with her husband and daughter to help her carry it to the car. Dealing with that much ice cream, and time in the walk-in freezer, cost me three nails and a bloody knuckle, but it was worth the sale.
Being distracted, I ended up doing a bit of the wrong homework, but didn’t mind since I figure any learning is good learning and the book seems to tie itself all together, so the more chapters I know the better. I tried getting back on my computer a few times, but was grateful for the crowd. I packed myself up and walked out on time again. It was a nice feeling to walk into a dark home, having the place to myself for an hour, though I always appreciate the warmth they bring to the room – and the loudness and laughs. Caroline went to bed while the old man and I typed away at our keyboards at 11 o’clock at night.
Breakfast at the Wagon Yard is a weekend ritual and I put jam on my toast to change the taste of my regular order. Back at the house and Caroline planned to call her mom while I looked forward to some sunshine on my bicycle as I rode towards one of the many highways. I returned in time for a shower and some editing before getting ready for work. The boss’s daughter stopped by and brought leftovers from the wedding with instructions to fill my face with paneer, naan, strawberries, greens, potato balls, and truffles.
The boss stopped by later and brought family and friends, the out-of-town guests, by for some ice cream sampling. The little shop was full of warm conversation and sticky floors as the daughters and their husbands helped me scoop flavors into cup and cone. One person wanted to try all the flavors, which can be done, but usually takes some time – and an appetite. The crowd cleared out and I finished my homework while they continued the goodbyes on the grass. I still needed to study for my sociology quiz and finish amending my résumé for my Business Communications class.
There was a bit of confusion as to whether I would see Grandma this trip, so I had sent her my number and she called me immediately. We agreed that I would stop by tomorrow morning, Monday, on my way home. I got up at 6:30am and left Dad’s house an hour later to deal with traffic on the way to Tempe to see Grandma and say hi to Dan. She cooked me some eggs, that I put on bread, and made me a Paleo coffee (consisting of ghee, cocoa, and coconut) that I stirred and drank, all 16 oz, while we sat outside with the dogs watching them mooch and play around. We had an hour or so to spend together before she had to go to work and I had to leave for my five-hour drive back to San Diego.
We enjoyed the moment – the shared interest in my dad, our dogs, the birds, good coffee, and our family’s wellbeing. It was great to talk about the past, ponder about the present, and make plans of the future. We captured our faces, covered with a deer filter, thanks to Snapchat and posted it to Facebook. Grandma was happy that she got to see all her grandkids and great-grandkids in the same week and suggested I head towards Los Angeles to visit my aunt and cousin with his family that has grown. It’s been at least ten years since I’ve seen them.
Grandma and I hugged again, she locked up the house, and we climbed into our SUVs. I took some distorted route out-of-town, but appreciated the change of view, perhaps something I should do more often. I focused on that and as the road grew familiar began to answer political questions from the site isidewith.com to curb Caleb’s curiosity. I stopped for gas in the outskirts of Yuma and pulled over just as I felt like I was getting back on the highway when the engine and battery light came on at 12:30pm.
I opened the hood and investigated. I took two pictures of what I thought the problem was so I could send them to Caleb for an evaluation for when I call roadside assistance. One was the sight of metal where rubber used to be – a missing belt. I’ve heard of fan belts and timing belts and since there’s only one here it runs everything. I really should look under the hood more often. It was part of my training as a young driver. Second thing I noticed is what appeared to be a broken hose or just all the anti-freeze that leaked from the car as it started to overheat.
I called my insurance company and they connected me to a third-party roadside assistance number that put me through to a local tow company that had to call their driver who was out on a pick up already. I’m told help will arrive within an hour and appreciated that it was only 90 degrees in the shade and that I brought my jacket with hood to protect me from the sun while I waited. Caleb updated me on the situation. Something else has happened to cause the serpentine belt to disappear and it’s responsible for the air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, and water pump.
This meant I had to have it towed to a shop to be repaired. I was hoping the Belt Guy would appear and send me on my way. I was in luck though as a Highway Patrol officer stopped to check on me. He seemed hesitant at first, but I gave him space and allowed him to assess the situation. He gave me a water and wished me luck. He told me to call the station (or 911) if someone wasn’t there within that hour. After the officer pulled away, a man on a Harley pulled up to keep me company for 30 minutes. He figured it his duty to protect a lady on the roadside – how thoughtful, but I was grateful.
The tow truck driver was parking in front of me as I was on the phone with one company trying to get ahold of another and find out where he was, being he was 30 minutes late. His arrival sent the biker on his way, but as the driver went to deliver the car already on the bed the officer returned to give me more water and a number to a different tow company with faster service. I had their number dialed in when the driver finally returned and was able to put my car on the bed at 2:30pm.
By this time Caleb was already on his way to me. I wanted to get the car home and he wanted me to go to class. I thought it’d be cute to drive beside each other, something we’ve never done, but also a waste of his time and unneeded gas. The assistance office had given the tow company the old address to the repair shop and we had to drive across town to their new location. I forget how big this city is, or seems, as I only ever stop near the Prison State Park.
Three guys and one car later and I’m told that my water pump is broke, which is what ruined my belt. Chris called Pep Boys and I used Google to check the price. Caleb arrived at 4:00pm and the guys were busy working on the problem so we went for pizza which also seemed across town, but is only five miles away. Chris called us on our way back, with food in mouth, that a thermostat was also ordered – a common issue in this scenario.
I was grateful for Caleb coming as quickly as he did, not only so he could drive while I ate dinner, but that we would have a ride home while leaving our Tribute overnight until the thermostat could arrive and the guys could replace it. I was nervous about leaving anything in the car (I got robbed years ago in a similar situation), so Caleb took my bike apart and crammed it into the backseat of the Mazda 3 along with my heavy school bag, small bag of clothes, and his uniform/lunch bag.
I wasn’t worried about getting to class and had already messaged the teacher who told me to “be safe” – which means drive slow and eat lots of pizza, but Caleb was adamant and the time difference, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, ensured I arrived during the mid-class break. Caleb agreed to hangout in the parking lot, and take pictures of me through the window from outside, while I finished the class. I got to discuss the film they watched, Merchants of Cool, that I remembered from one of my classes back in Florida.
My studying and fast driving paid off as the professor told us to take out a sheet of paper. I numbered the questions and wrote out my answers. Our first quiz was open-note and not everyone did well. Sadly, the results were almost similar to this quiz. It probably doesn’t help that some of the students spend more time on their phones, chatting with each other, out in the hallway, or sleeping at their desk. I also don’t understand how some of them were able to get by their language teachers with such poor handwriting. Maybe I was lucky to have an old college professor as my 8th grade teacher to ensure pride in what we did – even if it was different styles. We pass the papers forward.
*We returned to Yuma on Tuesday to pick up the car, probably minutes before the last guy was planning on leaving for the day — Thanks, Obama!