Monday, June 4, 2012

Meals with My Men

On Saturday morning, after returning Drew's tux, and filling up the truck with gas (again), I made my way over to the Lodge to have lunch with my dad.
"Your dad can feed himself now," his bubbly care aid told me as I took a seat beside him in the dining room.
"We gave him this special spoon - it's easier for him to hold. And we pour his mush into this scooping plate and we don't worry about spills because we have this bib on him ... just watch. Pete? Can you show Jane how you can do this?"
Dad leans forward in his chair, and with a wildly flailing arm, he reaches for the spoon. He jabs the spoon into the deep sided plate filled with orange-ish mush and loads up. With the spoon tilting backwards he opens his mouth wide and somehow manages to get most of it in.
He puts the spoon down, leans back and breathes heavily. It's hard work.
I give him my hugest smile, squeeze his upper arm, and lean in to tell him how proud I am.
He smiles with half his face.

"Did you tell Jane what you did today?" The care aid prompts dad to talk to me.
He has a blank look on his face.
She looks at me. "I asked your dad if he wanted to do some art. He thought about it and said yes, so I took him down to the art room where they handed him a paint brush and had him practicing brush strokes."
I looked at my dad, thrilled (that this care aid was not simply plopping him in front of a TV and thrilled that he trusted her enough to go to the art room) and gave him a hug.
"He wasn't enthused. He said this was for babies. But I explained how important this was and that it would help him get better..." She paused. Then said, "You know, he's actually pretty good. Way better than we were expecting."

Oh dad.
You are a wonder.

After lunch we s-l-o-w-l-y wandered the building, (which takes about 10 minutes) then parked ourselves in the back of the multipurpose room to wait for mom and watch some beautiful young women (in their stunning grad dresses) along with their dates, dance to some modern songs.

No we didn't.
We watched folk dancers in their ethnic costumes twirl and jiggle to taped tinny music.

It was quite something.

They were happy dancers.

Very happy.

I wonder if I'll join a group like this in the upcoming years? Looks like a great way to make friends and keep fit. And maybe if I'm lucky, I'd get paired up with the guy in the puffy sleeved pirate shirt...

Dad wasn't especially impressed:

We left as soon as mom arrived.
He had to pee. 
"My partner is on her break. He'll have to wait for awhile, OK?"
(I tell you. EVERY SINGLE TIME this is the response I get. It's almost funny.)
Anyways, with mom there, he became super calm and fell asleep, so I left. 

Seeing I was out on a boat, rescuing stupid boys at sea with my friends on my actual birthday, Max thought we (him, Clint, Drew and Danica and I) should get together for dinner that (Saturday) night. And maybe go to a movie afterwards. 

Good plan. 
Complicated execution.

By 6:30 pm it looked like we couldn't get our respective acts together. Clint was working (video taping a wedding at the Quay in New West til 10 pm). Max was going to go to a meeting (from 8 - 9 pm). Drew and Danica had both worked all day and were starving. And Drew was working the next morning at 8 am, (so he didn't want to stay out too late). 

I called it off and suggested we try another night, maybe in a week or two.
"Can you give me some money? I'm just going to take Danica out for dinner." Drew declares.
He takes my truck and leaves. 

I sit on my living room couch and wonder what I should do. A whole Saturday night ahead of me with no vehicle and no plans. Maybe I'd bake myself some cupcakes. 

Fifteen minutes later, Drew is back. Danica rushes towards me and gives me a huge hug, "Happy Birthday!" and hands me a Pandora bag. 
"I wanted to get you something different. Something like you don't have yet. This charm? Just came into the shop today. It's brand new. You're the first person to get one!" 
She is excited and it's infectious. 
Drew removes my bracelet from my wrist, removes a few charms so as to position this new one right in the middle.
"Come on, let's go for supper," Danica says.
"It's OK, I think Drew just wants the two of you to go. You go. Clint is working and Max is at a meeting, so we'll all go together another time."
"WHAT? It's YOUR BIRTHDAY! I don't know what Drew is thinking. Of course you're coming to dinner with us. You're NOT sitting here alone. Can I drive?" Danica is the best addition to our family. Seriously.

So the D's and I went to the White Spot. 

We got home at 9 and they settled into the couch to watch TV. I downloaded photos from my camera. (After that extended visit with dad in the morning/afternoon, I got my driver's licence renewed - yes - this can be done on Saturdays in Cloverdale - then did a photoshoot at the retirement condos behind IGA. They had asked if I could zip over during the weekend. Zip I did.)

Max phoned at 9:30 pm.
"Can you come right now? Be here by 10? Clint will be finished by 10, and the movie starts in downtown Vancouver at 10:40 pm. We can make that show. 
Then let's go out for something to eat afterwards. The Pho' place on Kingsway is open 24 hours."

So I said goodnight to Drew, drove Danica home, and rushed like a mad woman to get to New West in time.
At 10 pm my phone rang. 
"Where are you?" Max asked.
"I'm just getting off the freeway. Be a few more minutes."
"Clint said to pick him up at the Quay Inn's parking lot at 10:10 pm."
"K, then I'll come get you."
I pull in front of the Quay at 10:11 and don't see him anywhere. I called his cell, but it went to voice mail. I called Max, "he's not here, and he's not picking up. I'll come get you first. I'm on my way, be ready."
I pulled up at Max's front door at 10:13 and waited. And waited. 
He came down at 10:20 and hopped in. "Clint said to pick him up by the Keg. He has to move his truck."
We drive back to the Keg, and Max directs him to park on the street in front of the Salvation Army. 
By the time he hops into the backseat of my truck it's 10:26. 

We have a half hour drive ahead of us. The movie starts in 14 minutes.
"We can do it, just GO" my backseat driver shouts at me.
Max has downloaded the directions onto his phone, and we're off. 
"I'll prebuy the tickets," Max says. "And have them on my phone. That'll save time when we get there."
So while we drive, he asks for my Visa # (which I have memorized) and my Scene card # (which I do not), my email password, and my security codes. Meanwhile Clint is freaking in the backseat that I'm not being aggressive enough. "Run those amber lights. Don't slow down. Change lanes now. How fast are you going? Speed up. Stop. Just stop. Let's change seats. You'll never get us there in time."

I remind him that No, I will NOT get them there in time because it's a half hour drive from New West to Downtown and I cannot do it in 14 minutes. 

The tickets are bought. We arrive at our destination at 10:56 and none of us knows where to park, or where to find the theatre (it's inside a new mall that appears to be closed). 

I turn left, into an alleyway, following a Park Here sign, only to find that it closes at 9:30 pm. 
"Get out. Let Clint drive," Max says. 
"What? We're here. I'm just going to scoot across the street and PARK IN THE MALL'S UNDERGROUND PARKING LOT", which I just noticed.

I cross the street, sitting halfway in the middle of it, while slow-walking, probably stoned, definitely uninterested pedestrians block the entry way to the parking garage by crawling across the opening at a snail's pace. Clint yells bad words at them from the backseat just as I get past them. 

I want to read the signs to find out where the cinema access is, they want me to JUST PARK. LET'S GO. 

So I park in spot 99, and they dash out of the parking garage up the stairs onto the street. I, in loose flip flops, curl my toes, and try to run after them. We get up on the street and walk one block north, noticing that the parking garage gate is now down and no one is allowed to enter it. 

Then we run on block west.
I see an official man is a security type suit, so while the boys keep running ahead of me, I ask him if he can tell me where the movie theatre is. 
He looks at his watch. 
"It's 11:00, there are no movies starting now."
"I know. We're late."
"You're WAY too late. The last movie started at 10:40, and the mall gets locked up at 11:00. You can't get in. They are not selling tickets."
I explained that we pre-bought our tickets online and we came in from Langley and misjudged how long it would take yadda yadda yadda. 
He shrugged his shoulders. By now the boys have come back to see what I'm doing.
"Go back to the Starbuck's entrance to the mall. There's an intercom there. Tell security to let you in."
So we run back, one block east, and one block south, then turn the corner and go another block west to the Starbucks.
Clint buzzes.
"Let us in. We're here to see the movie."
(Hello? What about please? Thank you? WHO raised this kid?)
"You're too late. The last movie started at 10:40."
"We have tickets. We bought them online. We have them here."
"Go back to the parking garage entrance, there's an intercom there. We'll open the gate, go downstairs to the Mall/Theatre elevator. Take it to the third floor."
"Can't you just let us in here. We have tickets."
"Go to the parking garage. Take the elevator."
So we turn around and run one block east. And one block north, back to the parking garage.
Clint presses the intercom button. "We're here."

The gate rises, we run down the ramp, around the corner to the clearly marked elevator in the middle of the first floor. My legs, especially my feet, are ON FIRE. I have run 6 blocks in sloppy-fitting flip flops at 11 oclock at night. 

We make it to the third floor. The mall is completely deserted and the theatre doors are locked. No one is around. Clint knocks, and a cleaning guy opens the door carefully. 
"We have tickets, we bought them with our phone."
"You're late. Last movie started at 10:40."
(It's now 11:15.)
"Yeah, yeah..."
He looks at us. At me.
"OK. Theatre 9. But I have to scan your barcodes," he says to Max. 
Max pulls out his phone and cannot get an internet connection. We are deep into a concrete mall surrounded by 12 concrete theatres. Another minute or two passes. 
"Oh, just go in," he says.

So we did.

I found three seats together, we settled in and Clint laughed for the next hour and a half. He loved it. 

It was quirky and fun and ridiculous. 

"Let go for Pho, I'm starving. Haven't eaten all day," Max says after the movie ends. "I always go the one that's open 24 hours. It's good."

So, considerably more relaxed, we drove back through Burnaby and walked into a bustling Pho restaurant at 1:30 am. Seriously busy. Packed. With all ages and types of people. And for my 51st birthday, I had Pho for the first time. 

With full bellies and tired eyes, we left at 2:30. 
I drove the boys back to New West - dropped Max off at his apartment, Clint off at his truck, then drove back to Langley, arriving home at 3:15 am. I was in bed at 4. (Then got up to drive Drew to work at 8.)

I am 51 years old. I am a member of the sandwich generation. One very real part of my life is my aging parents and the slower pace/great needs they have. And the other very real aspect of my life are my never-sleep-at-night sons who pack as much life and living as they can into Every Single Day. 

I am 51 years old. 
Life is still an adventure. 


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. The slow moving morning meal with my ol man.
2. The 'normal' paced meal with my youngest and his girl.
3. A typical frantic experience with my older two where I am pushed to the limit of my physical ability (and just like running to the border last November) in inappropriate footwear for 1000 yard/2 mile long dashes. 
4. The lovely dinner tonight, celebrating my life, (seriously how many birthday dinners can I cram into one weekend?) with my mom (and Clint, who loves a free Keg meal) (and me. He loves me) and then seeing The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with her. Have you seen the movie? Life? It's an adventure at any age. Go see it and be inspired. 


Want to see more pics of Drew dancing? Here, on facebook.
And! Jessica was on facebook today! Here post:
The worst is behind me, but I still have some hard work ahead. I have set a personal goal to be home by June 10th. Please join me in praying that God will continue to give me the strength to achieve this goal.

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