Day 96 – 12/4 San Francisco…. San Mateo

We went downtown San Francisco and regretted it, so we checked out a bit of San Mateo.

TGIF! That was the first thing that came to me as I started writing this.  Sometimes I write a line or two the day of, and normally I do the full day write up on the following day.  Today I felt like writing TGIF right away. hahahaha…. Not sure why though, it’s been a good week.  Maybe because things piled up on my plate with work and posts and I’m behind.  Anyway… moving on… 

The girls morning routine was good.  Bia wanted to try to have school in my “office”, so she sat on the couch with the laptop desk and did the entire day there.  She was actually done quite early today.

Bella got going at her normal time, dialed in for ELA and got things done quick.  I noticed now for a few days that she writes all her To Dos on a piece of paper, and starts crossing them off as she does them.  She’s been counting them and letting me know she has 9 items to do, for example, and as she gets them done she announces how many she has left.  I don’t know where she got this idea from, but it’s great and has been working well.  She’s been doing her reading and work all on her own and quickly.  This week is extra special for her as it is her birthday countdown, so she’s been excited about that.  Both girls were done with school before lunch time.

I had a couple of work calls in the morning, had some website work to finish, and still have posts to catch up on, and quite a bit of work to do, lots of assessment write ups.  I plugged away at my stuff and just tried to get as much done as I could before we were all ready to leave after lunch.

Carol finished putting away some stuff, and went out to get some packages she had ordered, went to exchange some gifts she bought that were repeated, etc… Carol ordered a few things for Bella’s birthday, and since this campground is not allowing deliveries now (we found out after we arrived, so they opened an exception for a box Judy and Bob sent), we learned that some post offices allow you to ship to “General Delivery” with their main office address, and then you just go there with your ID and pick it up.  What?  That’s cool… you just need to check with the post master before doing so, but there is no fee for that usually.  Also, Carol bought some stuff from Amazon, and near us there is a SafeWay that has an Amazon Delivery area, which is basically some lockers where your orders get delivered to, and once they are there you get an email with the code which opens a locker with your stuff.  That’s pretty cool.  Both options are great for us while we are on the go.  The bad part of learning this is now holding Carol from hitting that “buy now” button all the time.  Dang! Hahahahaha.

After Carol got back, she made lunch, we got the girls to get ready to leave and clean up the dinette since they are all done with school.  We had lunch and planned what we’d do today.  Plan was to go downtown, ride the cable cars from the start to near the Wharf, then go to pier 39 to see the California sea lions, then finish the day at The Castro and have dinner there.  And so we left…

Driving into downtown was not too bad.  Traffic was light, but there.  We went through some areas that were quite dirty, full of homeless people on the streets, etc.  I had picked a parking place in the GPS that looked close to the station we needed to go.  As we drove by it, it was closed, and there were like over 50 homeless people right there.  The area was all dirty, messy, no-one wearing masks, people fighting.  It was just chaotic.  I kept driving towards the cable car station and as I turned around the block I saw a bigger parking lot that serves the big name stores around the block, so we went in.  As we drove into the parking garage, it was a tight fight to get the truck in.  The max height bar almost touched the XM antenna, and I had to fold the mirrors to get through the ticket booth, but we found a spot right up the ramp, in the oversize vehicles spaces, which were fairly empty.  With the truck parked, we started walking to the station.

Our walk was… interesting.  More homeless people… some druggies banging heads on concrete walls, foaming by the mouth.. not pretty scenes.  Bia and Bella were impressed.  Then, we got to the station and the cable cars were not in service, and are canceled for now due to covid.  Crap!  Ok, moving on.  Carol wanted to walk around, so we walked for like 2 blocks and were like, nope.. we don’t want to be around here.  More people than we were comfortable with, enough people with no masks, etc.  She chose a store to check out and we went there.  We went to Zara… it was a bit further than I expected but ok.

The girls loved it there.  They were checking out the clothes, and dreaming about what they’d buy, etc.  I got a view into the future right there. hahahaha… oh boy.  Carol likes shopping, and these girls do to already, and they like clothes, and shoes….  They better start working early. Hahahahaha.

After our stop at Zara, we started going back to the truck.  Quick stop at Crate and Barrel and we were back.  Sure ran into the same interesting people again.  What was crazy was that the stores had quite a few people.  Even with max capacity being limited, and some stores only allowing a couple of people in at a time, the people were there.  The Louis Vuitton store had a line outside!  Anyway, we got the truck, paid $6 for the parking (about an hour) and decided to pass on the Wharf stop as it’d likely be as bad, if not worse.

I put a place at The Castro in the GPS and we drove there.  We were hoping to find a spot to walk a bit around and see the area.  We got there, drove around looking for such spot, but really there was not a good place for that with the kids.  I pulled over and with our plans for the day failed, just pulled up another city nearby that maybe would have something.  So, off we went to a park in San Mateo.

It was nice to drive to San Mateo and kind of see the other side of the bay, which is where the SFO airport is.  Feels like everything here is about 20 minutes away, with no traffic, so we got there fairly quickly.  We got to the park just before 4pm, so we had a good hour or so before it got dark. 

The girls started playing right away.  The park is not as big as the Golden Gate Park one, but it was big enough.  There were not too many people either. 

Girls played, we walked around, the played some more.  Then we got the frisbee out and we were playing all together. 

It was pretty fun.  We played for a while, until Bella couldn’t catch the frisbee and it hit her head.  Then I helped her as she was crying, and Carol and Bia kept playing.  Bella wanted to go back to the truck, so I took her back.  When we got there, I saw a surprise.  I had a parking ticket!  What??  I had paid for 75 minutes of parking and still had 13 to go, how did I get a ticket?  Anyway, I took pictures of the meter showing the time left, a screen shot of the bank transaction (I paid with a credit card, fortunately) and saved the ticket to contest later.  My guess is that I paid the wrong meter, like I paid the one behind the truck and should have paid the one in front.

While Carol an Bia continued playing I looked up a place to eat.  We needed to try some Mexican, so I found the best Taqueria in town, Charlies Taqueria, so we went there.  We were like 4 blocks away, so we got there quick.  The Taqueria is also in front of a Brazilian Steak house called Spetus… tempting… but we were in it for Mexican.  The restaurants can only serve outside, so the Taqueria and the Steak House (across the street) had tables on the sidewalk.  Carol ordered inside and paid, and we ate outside.  Waiting for the tacos was tough with the awesome smell from the steak house. Hahahahahah.  Our food was actually really good.  The tacos were great, the carne assada was awesome.  Good call on that place.

From there we drove through downtown quickly just to see it, then drove back home.  That really was our day.  We got home, everyone showered, we watched TV, I took care of a post, contested my ticket (fingers crossed), and that was it.

Note as I finish typing that coronavirus cases continue sky rocketing across the country, but even worse in California.  San Francisco is tightening harder and harder as hospitals everywhere reach capacity, and deaths are increasing, doubling the daily numbers now.  Crazy times.  We are doubling down on being careful and are revisiting plans to make sure we avoid high traffic areas.

Even though we had some missteps early on, it was a nice day together.

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