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July 8, 2003
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10:42 pm: John and Jet got up early, and went for a walk. They walked through all the tree covered lanes near here, going steadily up and up and up, until Jet got so wobbly that John put him on his shoulders, and then Jet wanted John to go further up. They went to the top of the ridge for the development and looked out across Watsonville, and finally Jet was okay with John going back downhill. So they got a mile or two between them before I even woke up.

I kind of envy them the walk, but I was so tired. The feather comforter was getting to me, a bit, too, so I wasn't resting as well I as could have been. Still, it was worth it to just sleep in for a while. I needed it badly.

By the time I was up and put together, Jet wanted to nurse. So I nursed him, and put him to sleep in his bed. John and I had breakfast and then got to talk with Ken and Gab for a while before they had to leave for something at 10:30. We talked about solar arrays, design for reuse, and other stuff. It was fun to talk with them about that.

One interesting thing I realized is that I don't have to edit anything or editorialize on anything with them. That I don't have to explain things and I don't have to tune out anything they say because it's stuff I already know. They don't explain any more than they have to or are asked to. And they're good about explaining things succinctly when they are asked. It's so cool, and I hadn't really realized how much extra explaining I do for most people until we just talked with them.

It's very cool.

We also thanked them for the stay, for the dinner, and for their hospitality. It had been a great visit.

When Jet woke up, we were off. John set up Stitch for Jet. And we took the 1 up to 280, out to 80, and so on to Sacramento.

The 1 was very pretty and very busy. I loved the buff cliffs to the east and the lapping blue of the sea below us. There were lots of passing lanes for quite a while, artichoke farms, strawberry farms, and lots of ocean. We stopped at a little organic strawberry stand, where it turned out to be serve yourself, and they had a little change tray and all the prices marked on all the items, so you could figure it out yourself. There was even a cheap little calculator in the change box. That bemused me significantly. But the strawberries were delicious.

280 was a zoo. Especially right through SF, where it was stop and go to the Bay Bridge. When we got out of all that, headed across Berkley and stopped at the first gas station that we could find and got $2+/gal gas for the first time on our trip. There was a deli across the street, so we picked up sandwiches and headed for the park one of the workers pointed us to. It was a nice little park, with good play equipment, and Jet climbed and climbed, going up on one arching ladder that was well above John's head, but he did it just fine.

We ate our sandwiches, drank our pop, and had some chips in the shade on our mat while Jet played. Occasionally one or the other of us would go up to spot Jet, but he did just fine on the most part. That was a good break, and infinitely better than a McDonald's. We'll have to remember to do that more often along this trip.

We hit Sacramento right at rush hour, and John was very patient about getting through it all. With a single sucker after waking up, Jet was quiet and content to just look at all the cars and trucks in the sea of vehicles around him. He was pretty amazed by all that. Enough to keep him occupied until we got to the Petterson's house.

And, wow, what a treasure trove he fond there! Three kids, tons of toys, and all the kids willing and eager to show him more toys! Happy toddler. Katie and Robert were great from the get-go, and Josh took a little while to wake up but was a happy camper after that, and did good competition with Jet about toys and things to do with them. They had a great time together, as far as I could tell.

When dinner arrived (wow! GOOD Chinese food delivered!), all their kids went immediately to the table and started eating. Jet refused to eat anything, and just played with the cars and toys he'd had up to that point. I guess he just really needed the playtime. He played with them when they got down from dinner, and he played with them while they took their turns at baths.

Josh and Jet had a great time feeding balls into the Rokenbok setup that they had. The trucks were remote controlled, and the various ball feeds were switch controlled, and there was a cool conveyor belt that had a sensor so it would only go when there were balls in the hopper. They fought, genteelly (i.e. no biting on either side) over the balls, the trucks and who got to feed what where, but on the most part they played really well together.

It's amazing seeing them side by side. Josh is a real cutie. They're both about the same size and they both were pretty interested in each other.

Katie's a real cutie, too, and she had both John and I reading her her Stitch book in no time. It was really fun. Robert was quiet and good about bring other toys out for Jet, too. He's much more grown up, though, than Jet, and was happy to occupy himself in other ways as well. I'm very impressed with all the kids and how welcoming everything was. Jet was in heaven. It was a very, very good break for him after all the adults and all the non-kid stops up to this point. I think he really needed it.

After all the other kids had gone to bed, he deigned to eat a few Fruit Loops, drink his milk, and settle down to play a bit with us. He found some Disneyland light toys that he and Sherylyn played with with each other. He also played with them with John, and finally took one up with him to get his teeth brushed and changed into his PJ's. by the time he nursed, he let go of everything but the trucks, and went to sleep, just fine, on the kid futon at the foot of our bed. Whew.

I put away the toy, found my digital camera, and got myself ready for bed. John had gone to sleep while I was nursing Jet, and the two boys were dead to the world. I sometimes wish I could sleep like they do. But it's definitely been a good day.

One thing I did want to note about the Petterson's house. Sherlyn often talks about the house being a mess or something like that in her journal, but I have to say that it's an impeccably clean house. It's beautifully clean and neat. It is, however, stuffed to the gills with all kinds of things. I was just amazed in many ways that they were able to fit so many things in so many places and have it not be, on the most part, untidy or, in any way, dirty. It was beautifully clean and amazingly full From all that, I gained a much, much better perspective on why they didn't want to move a while ago when they were deciding on some life choices.

I had, for most of my childhood moved about every three to five years. So our compliment of Stuff has always been mildly spare in ways and I've always been willing to use stuff up, clean things out, and give to Goodwill anything I even might not use (including, to my sorrow, a box of D&D books). I get rid of a lot of Stuff, and, of course, find that moving is a great opportunity to prune it all down even more. But that sparseness comes at the cost of always feeling like I have no roots, or that there is no real permanence to any home I might have.

Planting the tomatoes this year was a tremendously odd thing for me to do this year. With us being gone for a month, they're likely to be neglected or die or something. But it felt good to do it, too, as we're likely to stay here for at least a year. Surrounded by all of Sherylyn's *stuff* I felt a deep sense of permanence, rootedness, and a sense I'd never had as a kid of 'things are going to be Just Like This for a while'. I can now see why it could be a very good thing. That was very cool to experience, and I don't think I would have been able to understand it if I hadn't experienced their home and how it feels.

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