The week leading up to Book Launch was crazy busy. I knew it would be, as I’d planned to coordinate it with a week-long visit home from Vancouver with Randy, my middle child, and her relatively new boyfriend Mitch (October 2013).
Having only been to one Book Launch before, for Miles for Memories by one of my climbing friends, Jeff Timmermans, my fiancé Brian and I were pretty much guessing as to what to do. We chose a similar format to his, inviting about 80 guests each to an Open House at my house on Saturday, August 23 from 2 to 5 pm. I’d requested RSVPs to my email, but discovered as I checked in with people that many hadn’t RSVP’d, but planned to come. The timeframe was one in which people wouldn’t expect to be fed, but we’d decided on fruit, vegetable and cheese platters, as well as wine, beer and various types of water.
I started shopping for it on the previous Monday afternoon when Randy and I found ourselves at the Superstore in Oakridge while Mitch shot some videos for a website with a client in Byron. If you’ve read my book, or when you read it, you’ll find I hate grocery shopping and doing it in a giant grocery store just compounds this feeling. It’s overwhelming. The choices! The vast space! I had a list, some on paper, some items in my head. We’d be going to the cottage that night for the rest of the week, so we needed things there as well. Plus, I said Randy could have some friends in after Book Launch, to catch up, to meet Mitch, so we needed food for that too. Waters, sparkling waters, pops – I grabbed three cases of each, one for the cottage, two for Book Launch. (Randy declined on my offer to buy drinks for her and her friends. She’s from Vancouver, thank you very much, and they prefer 2-litre bottles. Kinder to the environment.) Burgers, sausages and mountains of buns (which I can’t even eat now that I’m gluten-free), some for the cottage, some for Randy’s bash. TP and PT – interesting that toilet paper and paper towel flip like that, isn’t it? Cottage, house. Randy kept disappearing, because she’s vegetarian, to find veggie burgers, tofu, kale. The cart was full in no time and, even though there were more things we needed, there was no more room and we could no longer think straight, so we checked out.
“That would have been twice the price in Vancouver,” Randy said as she wheeled the cart out. We crammed everything in the back of the Yukon, things for the house on the right, cottage on the left. Then Randy dumped more than half a massive clamshell carton of fresh blueberries on the side of the road when she opened the back hatch to look for a snack while Mitch dropped off video equipment.
Truly, we were getting grumpy because when it is summer and you have a cottage you just want to be there. We finally made it to Grand Bend toward evening and Randy’s older sister, Jetanne (Tan), her husband, Adam, and their girls, Simone (2-years-old) and Naomi Lou (9 months) greeted us and helped us unload. As the weather has been all summer, it wasn’t the greatest, lots of rain, overcast, but we snatched enough moments on the water in the boat – skiing, wake-surfing, wake-boarding – and on the water with paddle boards, or beside it playing in the sand with Sim and Lou. My son Jay and his girlfriend Liz joined us for most of the week as well, so I had my entire family together again. If you have kids, once they have moved out, you’ll see. You absolutely love it when they come to visit. And you absolutely love it when they go away again.
Nights were for concocting various dishes that the various people with their various dietary needs could consume. And for playing games. My favorite was Cards Against Humanity, a game that allows each person around the table a chance to pick a black card and decide which white card from the rest of the group is the funniest response to the card that they have chosen. For instance, someone picked one with two blanks. It was about the director of The Sixth Sense. I don’t recall his name, it’s a difficult name, but the question went something like this: “I always thought so-and-so’s new movie was about BLANK, but it’s really about BLANK.” So, I picked “Nicholas Cage” and “road head”, not really knowing what “road head” meant. I’d had the card for a while and it was time to get rid of it, and well, to me, it just seemed to go with Nicholas Cage. Think Ghost Rider.
So, the person with the two-blank black card read off all of the responses, which were put in in an anonymous way, as the object of the game is to get your cards to be the funniest and, therefore, chosen. Everyone sat and listened and when I heard the laughter at “Nicholas Cage” and “road head” I knew I’d won that round. Then . . . I spoiled the whole thing by saying, “Oh, so what is ‘road head’ anyway?”
Have you ever done that before? Ask something stupid like that and then look up to see the faces and BAM. You immediately know what the answer is, you should have known it all along, but you didn’t really know it till you asked the question and saw the looks on the faces?
Anyway, don’t think Ghost Rider, think more along the lines of Bangkok Dangerous. Yes, he actually has a movie called that.
This is exactly why we have kids, or try to hang with people a couple of decades younger than us from time to time. It keeps us up on the latest trends, like in games and lingo, and gives us a great opportunity to laugh at ourselves.