Another visit with the folks in the books. Dad is bored in retirement, Mom seems to have found a volunteering/walking/cooking groove, Grandma is sick of being old, Sis has her hands full with little Penny, and Penny is super active and learning every moment.
Day 0: Now I Can Play Golf
Dad: How is your hockey season going?
Me: Well, I don’t play anymore. I retired.
Dad: Oh… now you can play golf!
That’s the spirit, Dad. :)
Day 1: Auntie Viv Phone?
Penny: Mommy phone video?
Sis: My phone is out of batteries.
Penny (to me): Auntie Viv phone?
The next day, she asked for my phone again. When I told her I didn’t know where it was, she proceeded to search my pockets.
Day 2: Up Up Down Down…
Dad and I turned the basement inside out on Saturday searching for the 8-bit NES. I was looking for my Contra cartridge, but instead I found the Atari 7800, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, and Nintendo 64. That, and a tabletop pinball machine. I was super excited and purchased batteries for it right away, but alas, it doesn’t work anymore beyond a sickly extended start beep.
Look super cool though.
Day 3: Observation Point
When I’m in town I like to get Mom outside for some exercise.
Sign: OBSERVATION POINT 300 YARDS
Me: Let’s go see what it looks like from up there.
Mom: 300 yards is far.
Me: We just walked 100 yards from the car. *points at car*
Mom: Let’s not go, there could be bad people on the trail.
Me: It’s the weekend, there are lot of people out.
Mom: 300 yards means 600 total, plus car. What if we get hungry?
Me: We’ll be fine.
Mom: This is steep. What if I climb up but can’t get back down?
Me: I’ll show you how!
In the end, Mom did a great job scrambling up rocks to the top. We were rewarded with a view of Downtown Boston as well as many other landmarks in the surrounding areas. Afterward she went home and took a nap.
Day 4: Hockey Travels
I told Dad about my upcoming Thailand trip to cheer and not play hockey, and he asked me about the places I’ve visited with my teams. He worked for years as a traveling salesman, so he started naming random places he’s been.
Dad: Have you been to Wisconsin?
Dad: Green Bay?
Me: Yeah, I got to tour Lambeau Field!
Dad: How about Minnesota?
Me: Yah, I went to the Mall of America!
Dad: Have you been to Detroit?
Me: I saw a Red Wings game there!
Writing about this reminds me that I got to visit the Budweiser factory in St. Louis as well. Clydesdales!
Also Day 4: Paper Sons
Mom and I got to talking about immigration, and she told me stories of paper sons related to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Entire families in the US today are here through a paper son. Entire families remained split because their documents were sold to families wishing to send a paper son. Mom knows people on both sides of those stories. I had no idea this was even a thing.
Ultimately, it’s the classic immigrant story: Life is hard, and you do whatever you can to make it less hard.
Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: Umami Monster
For an almost 2 year old, Penny has made it quite clear that she loves seafood. Her favorites: shrimp, lobster, and clams, as well as shumai and sushi. She asks for all of those by name, except lobster, which she calls “monster”.
Cheese is no slouch either: string cheese, Cheddar Bunnies, pizza, and Pirate’s Booty register high on her preferred foods list. This kid loves umami.
She’s willing to try just about anything. We gave her a pickled carrot. “Souwr!” Recoilscrunchyface. OMGSOCUTE.
Day 5: Bahn Gwai
Mom says when I was in elementary school she told me to behave and I told her, “I have to bahn gwai all day at school, I’m not doing it at home!”
Mom has used the phrase “bahn gwai” for as long as I can remember. Turns out she got it from me. It literally means “pretend behave”.
Day 5.5: Frogging
Dad recalled his frogging days as a kid. He’d catch a small frog by the side of the road, tie it to a string, and dangle it from a pole to fish for larger frogs. Larger frogs would leap to eat the small frog, and he’d fish them out and into a bucket. When he was done he’d release the small frog and take the large ones home for dinner.
Day 6: Narwhal
On the final full day of my visit, I taught Penny how to say “narwhal”. Success! I have done my duty as auntie.
Penny, whenever she sees herself in a selfie: Hiiiii…