Humboldt Trip: Part One

Last weekend, in a moment of masochism/psychosis goodwill and generosity, I volunteered to help my little — okay, 20 and bearded — brother clean up his apartment up in the Humboldt area where he’s going to school. Well, not just his apartment, but one he shares with two other 20ish-year-old guys. Messy guys. Guys who leave the toilet seat up and little airsoft pellets all over the place and, miraculously, still had a complete shelf of seemingly untouched household cleaning products after living in the apartment for a year or so.

And that’s all I’ll say about the status of the place for fear that Patrick might stop clearing the table and doing the dishes for us each night every time he comes home.

It’s not that I’m that masochistic (or sadistic for that matter considering I also inadvertently volunteered Ahmed) or a big fan of cleaning, but since Patrick and his roommates were about to move out, his landlady had to start showing the place, and his roommates were home visiting their families. And ohhhh boy was this anything but a one man job.

So off we went with an assortment of cleaning products, enough rubber gloves to stock a janitorial supply store, and our own little Humboldt hippy in tow. And while it was a little frightening at times, considering the task, we actually had a pretty fun time!

On the way up, we stopped for lunch in Santa Rosa at the last In-N-Out Burger between Napa and Humboldt. Because of Humboldt hippies and their munchies the distance (over 200 miles), the animal style fries seem to be all Patrick and his friends can think about when they’re off at school.

And since my mom was on her own with one very mopey dog (Maggie just hasn’t been herself since Grandma got sick, and then we deserted her, so she was even more mopey), they decided to go out on their own little In-N-Out adventure. One in which the dog was introduced to Puppy Prozac.

But I digress.

We also went to this neat little diner called Toni’s after our first night of cleaning. I didn’t have much of an appetite, but when I saw blackberry cobbler on the menu, I just couldn’t help myself. And I’m so glad I went for it, because it was basically the best blackberry cobbler EVER (sorry, Mom!).

I think Patrick liked his food, too.

But lets get back to that whole Cleaning An Apartment of 20ish-Year-Old Humboldt Hippies thing.

How do I say this?

Guys? I thought I found a crack pipe. (Deep breaths, Family. That’s past tense right there. Thought, not think.)

It’s not that I thought my little brother was a crackhead or anything (he’s quite mellow and well-mannered), but the shape of the thing and the intricate design coupled with the fact that I found it hidden behind the microwave I was cleaning in the very scary kitchen just made the worst case scenario pop up in my head before anything else. I had never seen anything like it before, and when I asked Patrick about it, he said he and his roommates had no idea what it was either. According to him, they found it in a drawer in the kitchen filled with other odd things when they moved in.

No, I didn’t take it outside to “try it out” or anything, I was just having a really hard time getting a decent shot of it in the house.

The mystery of the thing went on for a few hours until my cousin, Byron, stopped by the apartment to loan Patrick a weed eater for the yard (thanks, Byron!). Byron, being raised in Humboldt, has been around a lot of hippies himself, and thus had adequate knowledge to not only identify but also appreciate the item. Turns out it was a Yerba Mate straw. Who knew?

I have heard that Yerba Mate can get you a little wired though, so in a sense it is a little like another delivery of a crack-like substance.

(Side note: It’s not that Ahmed and I think all people from Humboldt/Santa Cruz/Berkeley are hippies per se, but we enjoy the ones who are and find it entertaining to continue Grandpa’s legacy of hippy discrimination. Quietly, and mostly to ourselves. Because we’re easily entertained like that.)

Apart from the initial viewing of the apartment and a huge scary spider I found (and smooshed) while cleaning the windows, the only other scary part of our visit was our sleeping arrangement. Don’t get me wrong – we had a really cozy inflatable mattress and a down comforter, and the place was a lot cleaner by the time we went to bed – it was just, well, the view…

Each time I would open my eyes, there in the dim light staring down at me was none other than the really freaking scary looking (albeit very talented) Thelonious Monk. While I admire him and all and I don’t think he’s a frightening looking man in most cases, this particular image of him isn’t one I’d say could lull you to sleep at night. Or comfort you if you wake up in the middle of the night not entirely cognizant at first of where you are. Good times.

In addition to all of our other little adventures, we had a really nice breakfast outing the next morning at Los Bagels, which both Patrick and my sister Lisa (who also went to Humboldt State University) have always raved about. Ahmed and I split ours so we could try a couple things. I ordered the Huevos Los Bagels on a cheddar bagel and he ordered the cheddar bagel with cream cheese, lox, and all the toppings (red onions, Slug Slime, and chives). Both were delicious.


The place was really cute, and they had excellent coffee.

We also had a chance to stop and visit my Auntie Patty and Uncle Jon (and cousins Byron and Kenny), who we were rarely ever able to see in their own habitat with Grandma being down in Napa. While it’s a bit of a drive for just a weekend, it’s a really pretty area, so hopefully now we’ll get up there to visit more often than we used to. Especially since Patrick will never have a messy apartment EVER AGAIN, meaning we’ll have a lovely place to stay.

Right, Patrick?

Next post: The drive home.

One Response to “Humboldt Trip: Part One”

  1. Helen says:

    Cathleen, You made it sound like so much fun. Your beautiful trip to Arcata and the simple job of cleaning Patricks condo… HaHa… I know how hard you worked!!

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