Aspen & Company!
Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
61Trip End Jul 11, 2013
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As is very common on this Odyssey of ours, we contact friends and family as we go. Often with little or no advance "warning." There are a number of reasons for this but one is that we DO NOT WANT PEOPLE TO GET THEIR SHORTS IN A BUNCH about getting houses ready or modifying their daily lives for us. Another is we do not always know whether were taking a right or a left at any given intersection so if we tell people that we'll be there on certain days and we have change in plans or distance of travel or whatever, we have unnecessarily altered their schedules and THAT'S NOT VERY NICE!
So the responses from people are pretty varied although I have to say it's been about 90% on the positive side.
Jennie and Jonathan were thankfully in the majority. I knew they were both self employed and pretty flexible but they also are very active, and have a 5 year old in pre-school. So when we got to El Cerrito I checked in and the first option didn't work but the second one did.
So we were set for Friday early evening in San Rafael. Chris had taken the day off so the boys had decided they would do a little hike in Marin County before heading up their hill.
Below was somewhat excerpted from the El Cerrito post. I get a little out of sync sometimes when Billy lumps a bunch of towns and stops together.
So, I dropped Billy & Chris off at West Blithedale Park and they hiked the Old Railroad Trail by Mount Tamalpais, (Mount Tam to the locals). They "blindly hiked the hills down through some very nice homes,ending up in the village of Mill Valley, where Mary had spent the afternoon sipping latte's and getting her nails done. Everyone in town knew her already. Surprised?
After the requisite beer to cool down and dry off, we drove over to San Rafael to visit an old colleague of Mary's from Maryland, Jennie, her husband Jonathan and their daughter Aspen. They live in a great house up in the hills with incredible views of the mountain we hiked earlier that day.
We noshed on smoked salmon (and other scrumptious delectables) with red wine (gauche?] and reminisced out on the perfect deck...
Billy claimed his actions (I think this is hard with nothing but "boring grown-ups" around EXCEPT if Uncle Meatball is playing) were deliberate to get Aspen all riled up and distressed at the thought of bedtime - and then leave. I kind of like being on the other side of raising children, being able to have all the fun and then leaving before the meltdown. Sorry guys!
Oh well we can't agree on EVERYTHING!
Anyway J&J's' home was great. Jennie insisted that it was all to Jonathan's credit because there was so much work to be done to get it to be what they wanted, that without his "vision" she would never would have believed the end results. They talked to Billy about still more that they want to remodel..Hmmmmmm.....I like it up here.
They are great hosts and so open, interested and interesting. Jennie and I had done a few events together in the Washington DC area, and as I recall we made a damn good team! And had a great time doing them
They are parents above all else... and being self- employed, that takes great planning and purpose, conviction, intention and discipline. (We even TALKED ABOUT that dreaded 1st day of kindergarten that they will soon face! OH GOD, wait til Aspen goes to college!!!!!)
Oh also we take some credit for Aspen's name. Jennie and Jonathan had visited us in Bigfork 5 years ago... and as it turns out, about 3 months before they received a call that their daughter was about to be born in Minnesota. They left our house for a trip to Glacier Park and
had determine the beauty of the Aspens in NW Montana were a worthy namesake for their beautiful daughter.
I believe Jennie had also indicated they "fell in love with" OUR children too but we weren't willing to give them up. (Even after all those rough nights getting them to bed!)