We wake to the shrill and insistent reminder of yesteryear: The sound of a landline ringing a foot and a half from my ear holes. Chuck and I look at each other, blurry and pillow creased, and laugh. Saturday morning at Chez Parents Pista, exactly 8 a.m. on the nose. As if the senior discount qualifying caller had been sitting with a clock on his/her right, telephone to the left, just waiting for an appropriate hour to start ringing up friends.
We stand in the kitchen, eating bagels and talking about the early days of a college that, at one point, only admitted women. Pa Pista's friend was among the first men to attend the college, which is also Chuck's alma mater.
Chuck starts to say, how, even when went there, there weren't many men on campus -- and that some of the women preferred it that way. But instead he says:
"Well, even when I went there, a lot of the women didn't want to go to bed with..."
instead of "... to school with."
And I had to hold extra tight onto my bladder and everyone turned a little purple.
"Well, that too," he acknowledged.
We go to this historical society to sit in wooden wagons pulled by massive horses. There are cookies, hot chocolate and after our second go-round, one of the horses unleashes buckets of urine just a few feet away from us.
It's a good reminder to stay away from yellow snow.
I go to the YMCA to get in a run and find a place that doesn't even smell like the YMCA where I spent my high school years. The cardio center has been rearranged. I accompany the worst run of my life with HGTV, muted but with subtitles. Some flippers have bought a house that not only has roach feces in the wall, it also has a lien on it because of some roofing work that was never paid for.
I switch to the elliptical and watch the end of a hockey game.
We go to a super club on Lake Zumbro, where The Girl eats ketchup by the fistful and all-but ignores her grilled cheese sandwich.
The Parents Pista ride home in the backseat with The Girl, who refers to grandpa as "Papa," and Grandma as "Uhn-Uhn-Uhn."
We settle the pajamaed girl in with Uhn Uhn Uhn and fire up "The Gruffalo," then sneak out the door for A Real Live Date. We see "Birdman," probably the best movie I've seen in, like, forever.
We have a favorite bar here. It has a lot going for it: a) you walk down steps to get there; b) it serves, almost exclusively, interesting craft cocktails. On this night, a bouncer tells us they are at capacity and that his manager won't let him allow anyone else into the bar.
Since this is the only bar we want to go to, we stand on the corner and wait for people to leave, then try again.
It's like "The Twilight Zone," an episode in which the characters return to a once-great place to find that it has become The Worst Place in the World. A bar filled with 22-year-olds taking pulls off mini champagne bottles while 90s hip-hop plays at a jarring volume. Dull-eyed strangers sink into couches as they survey the room.
This is a place in which a bartender once carefully pressed fresh herbs on the heel of his hand to create a gourmet-caliber drink. On this night, they're offering up a limited selection of cocktails -- including one called the "Call Me Maybe." Ugh.
We sit near a foursome that is being entertained by a windbag with a lisp, who asks his friend: "Do you like blondes?"
"He likes red-heads," the blonde woman responds.
"I like brunettes," the other man answers, refilling everyone's cup from a small bottle of bubbly.
It's mind-numbingly boring to eavesdrop on this conversation.
As we leave, Chuck overhears someone ask "Why are they wearing winter coats. It's like 35 degrees out."
We decide to return never.
We pick up some guacamole from Kwik Trip and chase it with a Bourbon-Amaretto mix from the Parents Pista liquor shelf.
Thus concluding Vacation Day One.