Valerie's daughter K turned 14 today. The original birthday party plans were to take K, M and a couple other girls down to Valerie's camper Friday night. Plus M and I were going to stay over at Valerie's house Thursday night. Alas the weather forecast was looking pretty dismal, so the camping idea was abandoned in favour of movie and sleepover at Valerie's house. Things got a little confusing for me at one point - M got off the phone with K on Wednesday evening and said to me: "you can drop me off anytime Friday morning." Friday morning? drop her off? I thought, what is that about?? I called Valerie to sort things out, but she wasn't home, so I sent an email and waited to hear if something had come up to derail our plans (would hardly be the first time!) This time though, it turned out to be just a case of crossed wires...no change of plans, the girls had forgotten we were staying Thursday night too.
I zipped home after work Thursday, had a bite of supper, packed an overnight bag, gathered up M and headed out. As we pulled up to Valerie's, her car was just heading up the road. Ok, now what?? Into the house I went to await her return. I commented to Mark that as usual, his wife had invited me over and then left. :) Mark's best friend Kees (also an Anglican priest) dropped in and joked "where's Val, did someone die or something?" "Yes", replied Mark "someone did." Oh my poor friend...not another funeral. She'd just gotten the call a few hours earlier. (I'd had lunch with my friend Andrea that day and she asked if my plans with Valerie were still on, and I joked yes they are, nobody has died yet, knock on wood...evidently I spoke too soon, oh foolish me!) I realize death and funerals come with the territory of being a minister, but...holy crow, Valerie gets called to do a lot of funeral services. Not only within her own congregation but also by the funeral home quite often, if they have a family who doesn't attend church, so doesn't have a minister/priest of their own to call on. In this case, the people were actually Anglican, insofar as they were anything, but one of the daughters (I think) just knew Valerie so...tag, she was it. Because it's not like she say: "nah, I'm too exhausted to do another funeral right now" or "sorry, I have other plans, can't help ya".
Oh well, in her absence, I had a great time chatting and laughing with Mark, Kees, and the girls. Eventually she got home and she and I went for a walk, to escape the heat inside the house and the noisy gaggle of giggling girls, and just to have some friend time. We talked about all sorts of things, as usual. At one point, I asked about Kees' recent ordination and she joked "this is what happens when you become best friends with us...just saying." (Probably not much chance of me becoming a minister, I'm afraid. Not that it wouldn't be fantastic to go back to school and do something amazing with my life, but...I think I'm allergic to public speaking! lol)
Friday morning, Valerie had to go do funeral prep stuff for a couple hours, so I just hung out with Mark and the girls until she got back. I love Mark, he is so funny. At one point, we were talking about pensions and retiring, and we decided that Mark and I will retire early, while Valerie and Dave keep working for another five years (because hey, somebody has to keep bringing home the bacon - better them than us!) We also decided that Mark should put off mowing the lawn until the next day...phew, good thing the weather cooperated and he did get the mowing done Saturday, otherwise Valerie was joking that I would have to come mow next week while they are away (except I don't think she was really joking! lol)
Valerie returned, another of K's friends arrived to help celebrate her birthday, we had lunch, and then we all went to see the movie My Sister's Keeper. What an emotional story of love...the love of parents for a sick child, the intense love of siblings for one another, an unexpected love affair, the love between daughter and mother. I warn you, take some tissues - you'll need 'em!! Most of the audience was sniffling and wiping their eyes, including us. A couple of the girls remained dry eyed though, so Valerie teased them that they have no soul!
After the movie, I called Dave and Sara to come join us for supper. We ate at a nearby Chinese restaurant...I forget the name of the place, but we shared a very tasty assortment of dishes, along with wonderful conversation, lots of laughter and fun. Sara and Mark exchanged a round of totally lame jokes...you know, the kind whose very lameness provokes a fit of giggles! Mark had to go straight from the restaurant to a wedding rehearsal, but the rest of us went back to their house. Dave and Sara hung around for an hour or so, then headed home because Dave was wiped out. I was really glad they joined us for a while though. :) M and I stayed the night again, it being K's birthday sleepover and all. Later in the evening, Valerie and I went for another wonderful walk, this time through some trails around her place. I love that we can talk about anything and everything. And I love that we can comfortably share each other's company in silence if we don't feel like talking. When we got back, we got the girls shipped off to bed (aka a tent pitched in the backyard), and then chilled for a while before heading off to bed ourselves.
A few photos...I really didn't have my camera out much, oddly enough for me!
(By the way, all the paintings on the walls are by Mark - including a dozen roses that he painted for Valerie. A dozen individual rose paintings, I mean, not a single painting of a dozen roses, how romantic is that?)
The girls finishing lunch...
Dave and Sara...
M and one of K's friends...
K checking out her brand new DS, and her friend checking her facebook...
My "other daughter" K, isn't she cute? (She had a nasty sunburn, by the way, she doesn't normally go around with her straps around her shoulders!)
Mark and Valerie both had to go to work this morning, Mark to do a morning wedding, Valerie to finish preparing for this afternoon's funeral. So I hung out myself until the girls resurfaced. I read for a while, swept all the floors, watched the news (all MJ, all the time these days), intended to wash the sheets on my bed so Valerie didn't have that to do on top of everything else, but got distracted and forgot. (Oops - sorry, my friend!) Eventually the girls all got themselves dragged themselves out of bed and had a bite to eat. Valerie popped home for lunch, so we chatted for a bit and then I took the girls swimming while she went off to do the funeral. While the girls swam, I went shopping and got myself a new swimsuit. Actually I bought several mix and match pieces, so in reality I have 6 different looks. I wasn't positive if I really liked it in the store, but once I got home and modelled it for Dave and the girls, I decided that it looks really good, if I do say so myself. Also got a pair of jean capris, a nightie, and a lightweight hoodie...they were all on clearance, so prices were hard to pass up. :)
I gathered the girls up from the lake and back to Valerie's we went. After a while, Mark took them up to the mall to buy a couple games for their DS's, and then M and I hit the road. (Earlier in the day, M and K had been plotting for M and I to stay for supper, but I said no because I knew K had to pack, and Valerie and Mark had a lot of stuff to do as well before they left on vacation.)
And now I am home, thinking what a wonderful couple days I spent in my dear friend's home. Thinking also how awesome it is to feel comfortable hanging out at her house even when neither she nor Mark were home. A sign of true friendship ♥ Can't wait until we are all together in Newfoundland - 13 days to go!! Woohooo!!!!