Birthday in Portland



I am distressed.  Not digressed.  Distressed.  I just finished my manifesto about the weekend, and I lost it.  It disappeared into cyberspace.  I’m beside myself.  All that wine and cupcakes to get the mood just right…and poof.  Gone.  Good thing the windows don’t open in this joint because I might be pitching the computer out of  them.  But I digress.

I’m not going to try to recreate my creation.  I’ll take a new tact.  When I started the first epistle, it was the the at the start of the Super Bowl.  Now there are 33 seconds left before the Black Eyed Peas.

I’m going to start by being informative.  This goes against my nature, but that’s the way it is when I’m thrown for a loop.  Portland is wonderful.  Beautiful.  Well- planned.  As an example, it only takes 40 minutes to ride on the light rail from the baggage claim area of the airport to downtown Portland, just a few steps from our hotel?  All for $2.35/pp.  Fabulous.  It’s a small city but highly efficient.  It seems designed to get you out of your car.  I visited with a man in a wheelchair that has lived near the river downtown for 24 years.  He can ride the rail system free to the market for groceries and back without any need of assistance.  Very cool.

So, now the adventure begins.  We are here to help Ryan celebrate his 31st birthday (yesterday) and it was not without “interesting” situations.  Let me see where to begin?  We are currently at the Embassy Suites on the 5th floor in a corner suite that has magnificent views of, count them, two parking garages.  We got this suite because Ryan was going to spend the weekend with us.  And the plan went something like this.  We would fly to Portland, drive to Corvallis (Ry lives there) and spend the evening together.  Then we would caravan to Portland and spend Saturday, Ry’s birthday, touring the city with my cousin Susie’s daughter, Ali, who lives in Portland.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, if you have read any of my earlier posts, you know the answer is plenty.  Starting with this blog.  But I digress.

We rented a car.  And it was only $11 a day.  Great.  We picked up our hot red Corolla and headed out of the Portland airport toward Corvallis.  We brought our new Garmin for extra special help.  Only problem was we couldn’t figure out how to use it.  I was driving.  Ray was in charge of the Garmin (a tactical error).  First the garmin which henceforth I shall refer to by her first name, Glenda, would only recognize CA.  We were in OR.  It took a few, “what the hell is wrong” and “why doesn’t this damn thing work” expressions of frustration before we figured it out.  Then the unit didn’t recognize the address of the Holiday Inn Express that we were inputting.  So, I pulled over at the first rest stop (there are lots of rest stops in OR with running hot water) and we figured things out.  Then on to Corvallis.  Everything was great!!  The next day was Ryan’s birthday and we were excited to be there with him.

Let me get sidetracked here.  I left it to Ray to arrange everything with Ryan re: the tactics of the weekend.  Which he did via texting (Ry’s favorite way to stay in touch).  Two men communicating with electronic devices.  With no estrogen involved.  Possible problems.  But what?

On Saturday after breakfast, we caravanned to Portland.  That was becuz Ryan had to get back home on Monday and we were flying out from Portland.  Makes sense.  We tried to do an early check in but our room wasn’t ready yet.  So they stored our stuff and we spent several hours walking around downtown on our guided tour.  Ali did a great job.  We had a very fun time.

See how dry we are as we pose with cupcakes?

It starts to drizzle.  We remain unfazed.

Our walk was interesting and informative and we looked like drowned rats before we made it back to the car for our drive to the restaurant.  That’s when things took a turn.  Ry and Ray were sitting at the bar ordering when Ry said he could only have one drink.  What?  It was his birthday.  Ry said he had to drive back home to Corvallis.  What?  That’s a 2 hour drive.  It was 7:00 p.m.  OMG.  Obviously the text mode of communication between two men comes up short.  Just an observation.  So after dinner, Ryan drove home, Ali went to a “light” party where everyone wears white…and Ray and I dragged ourselves back to the hotel to hit the hay….in the suite for three that overlooked the parking lots.

This shot was taken toward the end of the walk before dinner.

Today, we decided to take our $11/day car back to the airport.  Which we did.  That had it’s moments.  With the aid of Glenda, I managed to miss her instructions and she took us back to where we started.  So, we had to “remind” her of our destination that somehow I managed to get right this time.  We turned our $11/day car and paid $68 for 2 days.  What?  But it was cheaper not to keep her as the downtown parking would be $28 tonight.

We took the light rail back to downtown which was easy.  Buying the tickets from the machine was not.  But hey, we figured it out with an extra trip to the Information Booth.  Shades of Paris without the francais.

There’s one other thing.  I arranged for my cousin Susie to take us to the airport on the front end.  She lives in Sunnyvale.  She misplaced my email and called.  I told her our flight was at 1:20 p.m. and we would arrive around 10:30 a.m. so we could visit before going to the airport.  She and her husband, Larry, planned to drop us off and go see their kids in San Francisco for dinner.  Great.  She fed us lunch (yummy and unexpected) and we visited and then hopped in the car to sally forth.  She mentioned that we had time to go the scenic route.  Great!!  About 15 minutes into the trip, I said, “where are you taking us?”.  She said, “to the airport.”  “Where?’, I asked as we speeded north.  “San Francisco”, she replied.  EEEEEEEEKKKKKKKK.  We were flying out of San Jose.

She turned us around and we headed back toward San Jose.  About 15 more minutes went by and I asked, “are we there yet?”.

Postscript.  We made the flight.  Susie and Larry’s dinner in the city, however, was cancelled.

At this point it is the end of the 3rd quarter.  Ray is cursing at the announcers.  And I’ve been saving this masterpiece every 10 minutes.

An observation with occasional questions.  Sort of like Sex and the City without the sex.

Do we really need all these electronic gadgets?  I mean consider this.  We brought with us our MacBook so I could blog.  That required a cord for charging the computer.  Then we brought 2 iphones and one charging cord.  Add to that our Garmin, Glenda, with power cord.  Let’s see.  Then there’s the digital camera and it’s power cord followed by the Kindle and, you guessed it, its power cord.  Oh, and how could I forget the portable waterpik and its cord.  And with all this or because of all this we still managed to screw things up.  But I digress.

I mean, how did we ever do it?  Are all these  really necessary?  I mean, just how much does all this “stuff” weigh?  And when you factor in the chiropractor for a sore back because we lugged it on the plane…oh, I almost forgot, I also brought my noise canceling headphones which I consider vital because they also cancel out turbulence.

So what do you think?  I think I need an ipad!!!

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