A few weeks ago now, we had NeeNee and Papa here for a visit.
Before we go any further, I"ll explain the "NeeNee" to avoid any confused looks and queries. NeeNee is my mom. When Hannah was born, we referred to my mom as "Granny". As Hannah began to learn to talk, all she managed to say was "Nee", then "NeeNee". And it stuck. Oh boy, has it stuck. My brother's kids even call her NeeNee. If only Hannah knew what she was starting all those years ago!
Sasha and I picked up NeeNee and Papa from the airport on a sunny, hot, Thursday afternoon. We fought through traffic on the way home, and I informed Papa, "You're in the BIG city now."
After a walk to school to pick up the girls, and then a stroll through the neighbourhood, we headed home for supper, and then a late evening trip up to Burnaby Mountain.
The weather forecast for the weekend was not favourable. Rain. All weekend. If you know my dad, he is hell-bent on insisting that it rains in Vancouver every minute of every day. He's sure of it. So if there was one weekend we wanted good weather, this was it!
It looked dismal on Friday morning - and with the girls having the day off of school, we headed out to Coquitlam and spent a few hours at IKEA. We had lunch, did a little more shopping, then stopped for cinnamon buns and for my dad to get a 50 cent hot-dog. That man loves his dogs, and he couldn't pass up the chance for a bargain. He's got a built in hot-dog/smokie radar that can sense when a cart or stand is within a few meters of his position. And sure enough, he showed off his wienie sensing skills all weekend long.
After a little shopping at Metropolis at Metrotown (Canada's second largest shopping mall - right here in Burnaby) we headed home to meet up with Mike. NeeNee had heard that there was a "gang-land" style shooting in the parkade at Metrotown the week before, so that added some extra excitement to the stop. And surprise, surprise - the SUN was shining. In BC. Fancy that, hey Papa?
Here's NeeNee and the girls feeling pretty darn proud that they're all wearing vests. We were all dressed and ready to head out to "Burgers, Etc." home of the best BBQ in the Lower Mainland. If there's one thing Papa likes as much as a good hot-dog, it's good BBQ. The man's had a heart attack folks, but he's making it his life's work to test out those stents they put into a few of his arteries!
Papa's feeling pretty giddy here - we're just rounding the corner onto Hastings and you can smell the BBQ!
Mmmmm good. We shared a really humongous sampler full of way too much food. Corona's just happened to be on special, and we had to wash this down with a few of those too. Papa knows his ribs, and he gave these his seal of approval.
Shockingly, considering Papa was at the table, we had a lot of food left over. We packed it all up in a box, and headed down Hastings to the Downtown Eastside on a mission with our box, a fork, and some napkins. The first guy we saw digging around for food in a garbage can was the recipient of a feast. Papa called him over and he warily wandered over to the van. We asked if he was hungry, he said "yes", and we handed the box of food over. You should have seen him. He headed right back to the garbage can he was digging out of and spread the box open on top like he was preparing his table for a great meal, he opened it up and started to dig in. It was the most fitting way to end our meal - seeing someone else enjoy it all as much as we did.
Saturday looked shockingly clear (PAPA!!) and we decided to cram as much into the day as possible. After some pumpkin pancakes, we were off to the big city. We started out at Coal Harbour. We had heard that the Olympic Cauldron would be lit up for the weekend in honor of one of the supporters and organizers of the Vancouver Games who had passed away. Mike was living downtown during the games, but the girls and I had never seen it lit up, so it was a great sight.
Our next stop was Stanley Park.
Our tummies were beginning to do the mid-day grumble, so it was off to Lonsdale Quay for lunch and some strolling and gazing.
If you think that that sounds like a busy enough day, you'd be right. But we weren't finished. We thought we might as well make the most of the RAIN FREE sky by stopping at Lynn Canyon to walk over the suspension bridge and take a little hike.
Sasha was NeeNee's guide, and Hannah was Papa's.
Lo and behold, as were crossing the suspension bridge to head back to the parking lot the rain started. Papa couldn't help but smile, and we headed home for a rest.
Mike and I happily went out for some late afternoon shopping and appetizers and drinks later on in the evening while NeeNee, Papa, and the girls watched a movie, ate some smokies and played a few rounds of UNO and Crokinole. Sasha and Papa are bitter Crokinole adversaries. Thankfully, no Crokinole discs were thrown at high speeds and no one was injured in the course of the evening. And don't think it hasn't happened before.
Sunday was , um..well, it was raining just a little. It was a relaxing day filled with visiting a church, and helping NeeNee with some Christmas shopping for the girls. Papa bbq'd us his famous pork tenderloin for supper and we called it a night.
Monday meant it was time for them to head home. Papa had some last minute campaigning to do as he was about to seek his last (really?) term as a city councillor in Winkler on Wednesday.
It was a great visit! We're looking forward to another time together in Spring.