We decided to drive across the country instead of taking a plane, because driving is safer for our pets. Daisy is a Siamese-ish cat; Orange is a tabby cat; Speckles is a calico cat; and Pixie is a black lab mix. They are all "rescues." Daisy is the prima donna, Orange has only one eye (his left eye has no pupil), Speckles is a scaredy cat, except with us, and Pixie is just the sweetest, big black and white dog.
We rented a giant SUV (a Yukon XL) for the trip and quickly filled it up with our family: my dad David, my mom Nancy, my sister Jenny who is 6, me and the pets. We also packed a lot of snacks that don't make crumbs (such as nuts, dried fruit and licorice), water bottles, cat litter and plenty of things to keep us busy, including books, beads, markers and DVDs.
My parents have each driven across the country before, but this is a first for Jenny and me and we are looking forward to getting to California and seeing the middle of the United States along the way. Before this trip, we had really only been to a few places; New Jersey to visit my Aunt Susan and Ernie; New York to visit my 99-year-old Nana; occasionally to my mom's office in Manhattan; Orlando, Fla. to visit Disney World; and last year I went to Arizona to watch my grandpa, who is 70, play baseball in the National Men's Senior Baseball League.
Some of the things we are looking forward to are getting to know Pleasanton and San Francisco. My mom was very happy, thrilled actually, to hear that all of her favorite stores (Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Payless Shoes and Borders) are all in the same shopping center and that dogs are welcome in the downtown as long as they don't go inside the stores. Also, my dad and I look forward to going to an Oakland A's game, even though I will always be a New York Mets fan, long distance. Jenny wants to go to the mall and buy stuff for her new room. She also wants to make sure they sell Polly Pockets and pizza in Pleasanton.
We are looking forward to those things but there are also some things we will miss. Jenny is going to miss Mrs. Lyons, her kindergarten teacher, most of all. Mrs. Lyons was also my kindergarten teacher, too, so I understand how Jenny feels. I am going to miss my friends and grandparents, riding my bike around with my next door neighbor Cooper, and our shower that has wall panels which spray water out of the sides of the walls. Pixie I think is going to miss playing with our next door neighbors' three dogs. They are her best friends, and every single day, she sits on a chair, staring out the window, waiting for them to come outdoors to play.
None of us will miss the snow or being outdoors in the bitter cold, or having to wear heavy coats, boots, scarves and hats for so many months of the year. Snow is really only fun when it is falling, and for a few hours afterwards, before it gets all slushy and dirty. None of us will miss having to worry about deer ticks and catching Lyme Disease, and my mom also won't miss our septic system and well water, or the humidity, which makes her hair super-frizzy. My dad won't miss all of these things either, and he is also looking forward to giving up two acres of lawn and trees to maintain.
We are extremely excited to get started on our trip and as long as we all get to California alive, we'll be happy!
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