Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One Thing After Another

We took my parents to the airport today.  We had a nice visit; a week to catch up on all the little things that have happened since we left Nashville last December, but have not discussed at length over the telephone.  Our week was not trouble-free, however.  It seemed like each day brought with it a new issue to be dealt with.

Under the best of conditions, house guests in a space as small as our Everest (about 380 sq. ft) is a challenge.  Four people sharing one bathroom is a challenge.  Four people riding in a pick-up truck is a challenge.  Under ideal conditions, even house guests for an extended period is a challenge.  These past eight days have certainly had their challenges.

Of course, anytime you are entertaining guests, you want things to run smoothly and to provide opportunities for new and exciting things to do and see.  I studied the guidebooks, asked recommendations of local residents, and drew on personal experience to come up with a list of things to do while my parents were here.  Naturally, most involved being outside; being outside without rain.  We haven’t had much rain on this trip.  I can count the number of rain days we’ve had since January on one hand.  It rained more than that during the course of this week.  The first day, the day we picked them up in Seattle, it was raining.  That meant, of course, that all three pieces of their luggage had to be inside the truck with us.  It was a cozy three-hour ride.

My parents just love to shop.  In fact, there may not be anything else they’d rather do.  That first day had a stop in Port Orchard built around shopping.  The rain certainly put a damper on that, but also the economy.  So many of the small shops in the small towns and villages of the Olympic Peninsula have gone out of business.  The nearest mall, always a good retreat on a rainy day, is in Tacoma--a two hour drive from Port Angeles.  Well, I guess the mall in Victoria is actually closer, although it takes 2 hours to get there.  But that makes no difference anyway, since, on the day before their departure from Nashville, they discovered their passports had expired.  One of the main reasons for coming was to go to Victoria.  That certainly left a big gaping hole in our itinerary.

That first day was also the day we came home to find Peanut sick.  Having a sick pet is a challenge.  Pets are tender and delicate, especially cats.  They don’t deal with change well.  These folks, who are really strangers to him, moved into his personal space.  His blanket, which stays on the foot of the bed, is his safe haven in troubled times.  To have that blanket on the sofa at a time when he wasn’t feeling well was almost more than he could handle.

The first night of my parents’ visit was also the first night we had had the opportunity to sleep on the sofa bed.  This one is different than the one in the Montana.  It pulls out from the back rather than the middle and has an air mattress rather than a foam mattress.  We found out in the middle of the night that the mattress has a small leak somewhere leaving us on the medal frame.  Not comfortable; in fact, totally unacceptable.  We abandoned the sofa for our backpacking sleeping pads and slept on the floor.

It was the second night on the floor that I heard the mouse in the cabinet.  It was back to the sofa for me.  I’m short, but not as short as the sofa.  Not having enough room for either my feet or my head was of little concern when the main objective was to get away from the mouse.  After five nights, however, I may have a permanently crooked neck.

By the way, we caught the mouse yesterday.  Having a mouse in the cabinet necessitated washing everything before it could be used.  Since there is absolutely no place to store those items, they were returned to the cabinet and washed again and again before every use.  Nothing like filling up the day washing pots and pans.

The day after we murdered the mouse, the kitchen faucet sprang a leak.  At least, it only appears to have been a loose connection--something easily fixed and not requiring washing the dishes in the bathroom.  On the same day I heard a very strange noise when I lit the gas oven.  Gene seems to have fixed that with a minor adjustment to the lever on the propane tank.  I think that would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

On the fourth day of their visit was when my mother started having cold symptoms and the rains came down in earnest.  She needed rest and certainly didn’t need to be out in the rain.  We pretty much abandoned our original sightseeing plans after that and stayed close to home.

I had read a couple weeks ago about what sounded like a very nice place to eat in Gig Harbor.  In my mind that would be the ultimate dining out experience of their visit and we saved it for the grand finale.  What could beat Tide’s Tavern with outdoor deck seating overlooking the harbor with views of Mount Rainier in the distance?  You can imagine my dismay when we saw the large sign over the door “closed for a staff party”.

Well, we had a good visit anyway, despite all the “issues”.  After all, they say, “when it rains, it pours.”

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