I'll be honest. I'm very much an optimist about most things. I rarely carry an umbrella on cloudy days, I'm a stock market "bull", and when life tosses me lemons, I try to make lemonade. But sometimes... lemons can start to pile up.
Today started out great. Overnight, I marinated sliced beef in my top secret homemade teriyaki recipe. This morning I got up early, added a secret blend of herbs and spices, and set the meat into the dehydrator to make some jerky. Then, Nicki and I got the kids ready (okay, so it was more Nicki than me), and we headed to Kurihama to catch the ferry over to Chiba... destination Kamogawa Seaworld
. We've taken the Kurihama Ferry several times in the past and the benefit is that we can drive our car straight on, so we can bring basically everything we need for the day and still have wheels on the Chiba side to get around. Kamogawa Seaworld (which has no affiliation to Sea World back in the States) is fun: killer whales, sharks, dolphins, sea lions, sea otters, etc. We left the park a little after 3pm to get back to the ferry terminal out of Chiba, and were able to catch a boat right on time.
On the ferry ride, we discussed dinner plans and decided on our favorite sushi spot, near the intersection of Route 16 and 134, south of base. Unfortunately, it was crowded when we arrived and Sam was already beginning to fuss, an indicator that he was hungry and tired. No big deal, we just left and moved to our second option, the Korean BBQ joint in the same restaurant plaza area. The meal was good, but Sam was awful, screaming at the top of his lungs and squirming like a fish out of water.
After the meal, as I was loading Sam into his car seat, the parking spot next to ours opened up. Someone tried to pull in, but Sam's door was open and I was there trying to get his arms strapped into the restraints. Instead of waiting the necessary 10 seconds for me to get this done, the driver of the waiting car decided to honk his horn at me not once, but twice. The first time, I ignored him, hoping that he'd see I was obviously trying to get my squirmy tired kid into the car safely. The second time, I straightened up and shrugged my arms and shoulders at the guy, and said "what do you want me to do?... wait a minute" (as if he could understand me). After that, I finished strapping Sam into the seat, and got into the car myself. After all, if I had moved out of his way when he first honked, the guy would have parked but none of his passengers could have gotten out until I moved anyway. And the whole ordeal was about 30 seconds... Then, after I got in the car, I had to help Josh because his belt was a little tough to maneuver tonight. At this point, the other driver had pulled in and just sat in the driver's seat staring at us. His family got out of the car, but he just sat there staring, even as we pulled out and pulled away.
When we finally made it home, Sam went down like a sack of potatoes. He was tired... Josh, on the other hand, had a great day and was chop full of energy. To expedite his bedtime routine, I told him I'd "race" him to see who could get pajamas on first. Then, I heard Nicki downstairs saying, "Uh Oh" followed quickly by "OH NO". Then, I felt it... an EARTHQUAKE. I immediately ran into Josh's room, where I saw him standing, with a blank expression on a pale white face. I asked, "Are you okay?", to which he replied, "Something is just making a lot of noise in here". I had to explain that it was an earthquake, which he's learned about in school and even lived through a time or two in the past. But this is the first one that he's felt since he's been old enough and knowledgeable enough to comprehend. He didn't like it one bit. Nicki and I spent about 10 minutes explaining earthquakes, how and why they happen, how to respond, where our emergency kit is located, and that it is okay to be scared but important to be smart when events like that happen. After tucking Josh in, I checked the web. Sure enough, about 150 miles from here, a 7.1 magnitude quake struck at 7:55pm, right before Josh's 8pm bedtime.
This post has helped me put things in perspective and focus on the positive:
1. Sea World was fun and I had a great day with my family.
2. The Kurihama Ferry is a great experience and well worth the cost when traveling to the southern part of Chiba.
3. Southern Chiba is absolutely beautiful, especially along the east coast - an excellent blend of rural rice farming and small surf town mentality.
4. Although sushi would have been tasty, the Korean BBQ was excellent too.
5. My beef jerky is out-of-this-world delicious.
Everything else is... just lemons.