Wallace Family Get Together, June 2018


I have to try and make this as quick as I can -- I just captioned all the photos from the past two days in Wallace, which means you can click over there for the details. That took some time on its own, and it's getting late, and we want to get up and start driving through Montana early in the morning. I still need to mention a few things here, though, because with the next five days being our trip to Yellowstone, if I don't record this now, it'll just otherwise largely get lost to history.

I suppose most importantly, Mom is in the hospital. I'm not sure how it's exactly "not a big deal" if she was taken to the ER in Kellogg in the middle of the night last night, kept there overnight for monitoring, and transferred to yet another facility this afternoon in Coeur d'Alene early this afternoon -- with no indication so far of when she'll get to come back home -- but that's how it's being treated. Christopher spoke to her and she seemed fairly unconcerned, I guess. I'm not sure she's the best gauge, but whatever.

In any case, we stopped at the Costco in Coeur d'Alene yesterday evening on our way over, and we got two pizzas, a bunch of chips at Bill's request, and we provided dinner at Mom and Bill's house. We did not know until I called Mom from the Hercules Inn in Wallace that Christopher had all three of the boys over; had we known that, we would have gotten a third pizza. That was all right, though; two pizzas turned out to be the perfect number, actually.

Shobhit made coffee. Mom had some, although even she said it doesn't sit well with her as much anymore -- she used to drink pots and pots of it and now drinks far less. But, she took Shobhit's offer, still asking for black coffee instead of taking milk in it at Shobhit's suggestion. (We also got them milk and eggs from Costco.) Shobhit is now convinced that was partly why Mom had to go to the hospital -- the acidity of the coffee, on top of the apparently too much pizza she ate, which is something Christopher did mention.

Shobhit and I have learned a lesson: no more giving them foods and drinks we know they certainly should not be having.

So. I tried calling Mom this morning to get confirmation that we could come pick her up to bring her over to the Hercules Inn at about 10:45. That's what we discussed last night. I honestly figured Bill would not come regardless; he has his own chronic pain issues and never wants to go out anymore, I suppose unless it's to see a doctor. I called at 9:45 and again at 10:45, and kept getting voicemail. Finally I Facebook Messaged both him and Tristen, asking if anyone was awake over there, and if he could confirm with Mom when we would come get her.

So Christopher finally responds: Oh, shit! Just got woke up by you just calling cause was up half the night because mom went into the ER last night for her stomach issues again. They wanted to keep her for the night to monitor her blood pressure & her heart rate because they were way too high.

. . . Um. What? Did it really not occur to him to tell me any of this until hours later, let alone until Nikki and TJ were already halfway here from Spokane? I mean, maybe he was super tired in the middle of the night, but still. I suppose on the upside, Shobhit and I had up to that point had a quite pleasant morning in our blissful ignorance of any of this.

For a moment I was unsure exactly what to do, whether we should scratch our plans for hosting lunch or what. I had just told Nikki on Facebook Messenger to meet us at our hotel rather than at Mom and Bill's house. In the end, with nothing else really to be done and Mom presumably in good hands -- although Bill was clearly very worried -- we went ahead with the afternoon plans. They just wound up not including Mom and Bill.

Today was also the day of Tristen's high school graduation in Spokane. Most of Christopher's immediate family (minus Becca, who visited last weekend) was to be there, even though nearly all of them were actually here in Wallace this afternoon. Yesterday Mom made it sound like Christopher had brought the boys back so they could see me, and they would stay the night since Christopher was going back to Spokane today for the graduation ceremony anyway. Nikki later told me the boys have been spending pretty much every weekend with Christopher out here, so, I don't know, whatever.

Nikki and TJ had already made their plan to come down for a visit even before heading back to Spokane for the graduation ceremony, both so they could see Shobhit and me, and they could see Mom and Bill. They never got to see Mom and Bill today. But, the rest of us had a very nice afternoon here in the unit we're in, which is basically like a one-bedroom apartment, more spacious and far cleaner than Mom and Bill's house. And Shobhit and I made quite the spread (there's a photo of it, of course): ravioli purchased from Costco; tossed salad made delicious with both gorganzola cheese and chopotle dressing; pita chips and hummus; grilled corn on the cob made delicious with rubbed salt, pepper and lime; dinner rolls; and fruit salad. We had worried only one bag of the ravioli would not be enough, but again, just the one was perfect.

And after eating, we played UNO. And then Cards Against Humanity -- just as we had played it last night with Mom and Bill, Christopher and Tristen. Last night was our first time playing it with Tristen (who struggled to pronounce several of the words, a bit of a sad irony for a kid about to graduate high school); today was our first time playing it with Nikki and TJ. It always works better with more people, so the game today with six of us, it was pretty fun.

Christopher left with the boys around 3:00, so they could get back to Spokane in time for Tristen's graduation. He had to be there a bit early, off course. Nikki and TJ stayed another forty-five minutes or so, enough time for us to finish Cards Against Humanity, and then play a game of Skip-Bo -- which TJ was hell-bent on winning because apparently when just the two of them play, Nikki keeps winning.

I did say something that kind off surprised TJ. I had suggested playing the cards on the floor, before we started UNO, and he said, "Sitting on the floor is not easy for someone my size." So I I said, "I'm sure you can roll just fine!"

He thought it was funny, though he admitted he was surprised. "Matthew, making a fat joke?" And it's true, I would not typically make fun of someone being fat, but a) he brought it up first; and b) I knew it wouldn't bother him. Context is everything! In fact, it somewhat ironically became a moment of connection.

So anyway, soon enough even they left. Shobhit and I had already gone over to Mom and Bill's house over an hour earlier, so we did see Bill briefly today: we brought leftovers of a bunch of the food, including a bunch of multipacks of chips we got on sale in Seattle at QFC for dirt cheap. (Bill had said on the phone a while ago, "Bring me chips!" then laughed as though he was "joking." Uh huh.) We went back to Bill where he was laying down in his and Mom's bedroom, and he really perked up when we told him we brought him chips (which, again, we technically probably shouldn't have -- I may not do this anymore; I don't want to be an active participant in their demise anymore). We also had a plate of corn on the cob and a plate of the last of the ravioli. Who knows how much of it he'll actually eat.

After everyone else was gone, we had the rest of the evening cleared to do what I had originally thought we might do tomorrow morning, and we're now both very glad we didn't attempt it at the beginning of our long drive the rest of the way to Yellowstone: we went to check out the Route of the Hiawatha bike trail that stretches from across the state line in Montana back into Idaho. Both finding the right spot and actually walking the trail proved more complicated than we realized; we did much more driving, particularly on slightly muddy abandoned mountain dirt roads, than we expected -- but, in the end, we were still really glad we did it. I got plenty of lovely pictures, which again, you can find in the full photo set on Flickr. You can also read more details about it in the captions. There's far more of it to see than we saw today, so I do hope to go back one day when we have more time and can go earlier in the day. I didn't even know the place existed until I saw something about it while visiting Dad and Sherri a few months ago.

We drove back home, and I've spent the rest of the evening editing, uploading and captioning this weekend's photos, then writing this blog post. I'm going to go get ready for bed now!


[posted 11:06 pm]