Beginning our journey home at the top of week 5!

Street cleaners come at 8. We’re out by a quarter ’til and at Starbucks by 8:30. (Would have been there sooner, but Rudy wanted to be carried and I wanted him to use his strong, healthy legs. Thus a Mexican stand-off took place for about 20 min, while he defiantly planted his 2 1/2 year old buns on the sidewalk and stared at me. He finally caved and baby-stepped towards me, as if to say, “Yes, mother, I’ll walk. But I’ll do it in such a way that you’ll wish you carried me.)

Transmission shop by 9:30. Not the transmission! Thank God! Escaping a $1700 bill. But a full (and much-needed) transmission service was done, then we were sent to a muffler shop. Apparently, it was the catalytic converter(over 90% clogged) and muffler. They can get the part by Friday…what?!? Or, 2:00 today if you pay more. Yes, please!

While the work was being done on the Lindy, Kim got mom’s car all vacuumed out and was going to wash it but, would you believe it, it was pouring rain! It’s like Tacoma was saying, “If you can’t come to me, I’ll come to you!” Anyway, Jared took Rudy to get a sprinkle doughnut, and I blogged. When we all came together again, it was time to eat, AND since we were in Ojai, I guess we HAD to go to the OBC one more time. Some lunch, some “chase me” with Rudy, one more delicious beer and we bid our final good-byes to the Ojai Beverage Company.

hooray_lindyBy the time we got back to the RV, we only had to wait another hour or so and she was good to go. You know, we turned her on and lined her up with the trailer to be hitched back on and Kim said, “Is she on?” That’s how quiet the engine was. It was literally like driving a totally different vehicle.

We had to dump (legitimately this time-and I think Karma was paying us a visit because the price to dump was raised from $15 to $25…if I remember correctly, that $10 difference was what Kim and Jared skirted at the state park in Santa Cruz. All has a way of coming back around, doesn’t it???)

Anyway, dump and fill done, we wanted to say goodbye to our family and friends, and return mom’s car. The moment of truth. My mom’s house is up the Camarillo Grade, a long, steep incline leading from Ventura into Thousand Oaks. This was the final test to see if Lindy could manage. Rain and traffic did their best to drag us down, but Lindy plowed up the grade, proud to show off her new abilities. A bittersweet victory, this meant we were ok to head home. With a Malibu gig promised to us if we stayed through Friday, and several people wanting to visit more, family birthday parties, and of course, the sunshine, it would have been easy to stick around a bit longer. But we also knew that the sooner we got on the road, the more time we would allow ourselves to take our time heading back to Tacoma and get ready for our return home concert on March 5. And, God forbid anything should happen, we’d still have plenty of cushion to take care of it.

It was so hard for me to say goodbye to my family this time. Rudyard had bonded something fierce with his cousins and Aunt and Uncle. The relationship born out of my sister-in-law, Heather’s, amazing ability to juggle her two littles plus Rudy (even the same day she had surgery!) and love him like one of her own, and my brother’s devotion to getting to know his nephew and creating a tender friendship between the two of them, blossomed quickly over the week we were here. They were as sad to see us go as we were to leave. You just never know how kids will get along. We wanted them to like each other…they ended up truly LOVING each other. Several rounds of hugs and kisses were dolled out before they finally left. I felt strangely empty.

As I began to cry, Rudy held my cheeks and said, “Oh mommy! Don’t cry. Happy face.” And he pushed the corners of my mouth up into a smile. He was right. There was so much to be grateful and happy for.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -W. The Pooh

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