HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY DAD! With only a day's notice, my father drove up from Texas for a surprise visit. My boss in turn let me take a couple of short-notice vacation days for a long-weekend and I sprung into action. You know all those little things you sometimes let go thinking you'll get to them later - like cleaning out the inside of of the microwave oven or wiping down the baseboards? Yeah so I did those things. It was a veritable Spring Cleaning from 0600-1100 and the house looked fantastic - like one of those model homes of a house you can't afford. Dad was surprised at the open floor-plan and vocally pleased with the spaciousness which aided him greatly in feeling welcome and comfortable.
His big thing has always been music and movies & television, and while I have plenty of the former, I'm not really active on the latter. But thanks to Vudu and Netflix, it all turned out just fine. He has this story he tells that I don't recollect about my time in England. While its true that I was snapping up music at an alarming rate there and sending him audio cassettes I recorded on the Teac V3000 (I couldn't afford the Nakamichi Dragon at the time), what I don't recall is the specific tape I sent him which changed his life - the one which included four songs from Les Misérables.
Though he'd seen the new movie twice in theaters, he was quite anxious for me to see it as well. Not wanting to be outdone by a theater, I'd already purchased Vudu's HDX (read 1080p) version, so we began with that. The passive subwoofer never disappoints. And if seeing his grandkids wasn't the highlight of his visit, the movie surely was. But I had far more in store. I'd picked up two, 2-lbs. top sirloin steaks, a dozen ground sirloin patties, and with a head's up from co-worker Westminister Abbey, a bag of Pecan smoking pellets. While all of that was certainly noteworthy, the look on his face when I presented him with a perfect pineapple-upside down cake right from the oven made everything worthwhile. He couldn't stop talking about it.
He also admitted to sleeping better than he had anytime in the past two years. I overheard him telling one of his friends I'd put him in a hyperbaric sleep chamber. While he was here I pulled out my sleeping kit from Saudi Arabia and made up in the office, turning over the master bedroom. The one with the embarrassingly expensive mattress, 600-thread count sheets, dark-painted walls, and blacked out windows. Its also the coolest room in the house when the central air is on, and it has two box fans and a large ceiling fan for white noise generation and air movement. The second night he slept 14-hours.
The next three days were filled with fun, food, music and movies. It was nice visiting with him and enjoying things together. I was so glad he was able to drive up and that he had such a great time. I was also so glad he left the following Monday morning - making everything look easy and effortless is usually anything but. That said, I greatly look forward to his next trip. Perhaps next time with a little more notice :)