Easter with my family, friends

Someone’s out to get me, I swear. Unfortunately, that someone is probably me.

This has got to have been one of the most hectic weekends I can remember. Here’s the general gist of some of the things that were going on:

  1. A project deadline (for our largest client) that was due yesterday.
  2. Several planned family meals.
  3. My mother’s birthday.
  4. A friend in town.

I know it doesn’t sound like much, but the overall effect was unbelievably distressing, and the victims ended up being my mother, my father, and myself. My father, you ask? Well, I just came the realization that today is his birthday, and I forgot to call. (I have a lame excuse — I dropped my cell phone the other day, and the antenna broke, pretty much rendering it useless until I get it fixed. I haven’t had the time to get it fixed yet.) So dad, I apologize for not calling — I’ll make an effort to call tomorrow.

The weekend started on Thursday night, with another Hitmen hockey game. I’ll have to dispense with the details, as much as I would love to recount the game — it was a thrilling one. It was the first night in a while that I had left the office early. Even without the game, I still would have left — the power was being shut off to install our server room UPS system. (For those of you who don’t know what a UPS is, it’s basically a giant battery.)

The next morning (after attempting to catch up on the weeks of sleep I’ve managed to fall behind on) Chris and I went over to my cousin Pam’s new home for a massive family brunch. This included my aunt, uncle, and cousin from Calgary, Pam and her parents, Pam’s aunt and uncle (who also live in Calgary), her boyfriend, our grandmother (Nana), and my mother, who had flown out to Calgary for Easter. It was also her birthday, which her brother was all too willing to bring to light.

Brunch was huge — lots of fruit, pastries, eggs, bacon, a spinach pie that was to die for, and champagne and orange juice. It didn’t take long for Chris and I (and just about everyone else) to overfill. Yes, it was going to be another one of “those” weekends — non-stop food. Luckily for me, I was going to be locking myself in the office, keeping me from eating too much … in theory, anyway.

Around 1pm, Chris and I made our exit. I had to go to work to work on the aforementioned project deadline. But first, I had to swing by Chinook Centre to get mom a birthday present. No, I hadn’t had the chance to get her one yet — and my previous attempts had yielded no fruit. Success was not far away, however, and I was soon heading back towards the office.

I worked away until almost 5:45, at which point I had to leave to go to dinner at my aunt and uncle’s, in honour of my mother’s birthday. I made a quick side trip by the Greyhound station to drop off Carl (Critical Mass’s newest Web Developer) so he could go to Invermere, and then stopped by the apartment to pick up the photographs of Julie’s wedding (which had been meant to show around, but in the chaos of returning from Ontario after Christmas, disappeared into the “Behind The Couch” void).

Almost 45 minutes late arriving, the six of us (my aunt, uncle, cousin Jen, Nana, my mom, and me) had a wonderful dinner. The centrepiece was a Cajun marinated steak, served with a fruit salsa that made the flavours just pop out. I never thought fruit could be used so cleverly.

Around 10pm, my body was screaming for rest. I withdrew my presence and retreated to the comforts of my apartment, where I attempted to fall asleep in front of the TV. However, I was at that uncomfortable point in exhaustion where you’re actually too tired to sleep. I stayed that way until Chris came home from his almost-but-not-quite date, and suggested we go to Pongo for a while.

I gotta learn to stop doing stuff like that when I’m exhausted.

The next morning came far too early, despite being noon. I felt like I’d only slept an hour. But back to the office I went. I slaved away until about 3:30, when I returned home to prepare for the next round of family engagements. We were off to Ron and Dawn’s home (my aunt Alaine’s sister and brother-in-law) for a pre-dinner get-together. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jen in attendance — I had assumed she wouldn’t have come. But Jen, unlike myself at her age, is quite willing to experiment with new foods.

We hobnobbed until 7:15, at which time we headed en masse to Bodega, a Spanish tapas bar about four blocks from our apartment. I’d been there one time before, on a pseudo-business lunch, when our office had literally been around the corner. It was an excellent meal, and I was looking forward to having it again.

All 17 of us piled into the little restaurant, taking up a large (and loud) portion of the tables. For the next four hours or so, we ate, talked, drank, shared in Jen’s drawings (my cousin is becoming quite the artist, and is adept at on-the-spot works of art), and were merry. For a short while, I forgot how tired I really was.

When we finally left (in the vicinity of 11:15pm), I returned to the apartment to pass out. Chris again tried to coax me out for an evening, but I (fortunately) said ‘no’. I’m not even sure if I heard Chris leave. Somewhere between Chris leaving and the alarm going off the next morning, I’d managed to haul myself to bed.

I awoke early to get in some work at the office before Easter brunch with Stuart, Therese, and Jordon (one of our co-workers and friends) at “The Ranche”, a restaurant in Fish Creek Park in the south of Calgary. It used to be a ranch house back in the day, but is now the home of a mid-upscale eatery. A very filling (and tasty) repast, but a little too long in length.

As we were heading back, my mom called. I had hoped to spend some more time with her before she had to go to the airport, but there were simply not enough hours in the day. Her phone call reminded me that the clock doesn’t stop. I broke just about every speed limit dropping Chris and Jordon off at Chinook Centre and then hauling myself up to my aunt and uncle’s house. Not even five minutes after arriving, I was taking my mom to the airport.

Despite her protests, I saw her to the gate. I had seen my mother for a collective 8-10 hours over the course of four days, but had only really visited with her for a small fraction of that. I wanted what little time there was left to see her before she left. Before I knew it, she was passing through security. Three entire days vanished before my eyes.

Returning to the office, I tried to finish off the last of the known work. There were still issues to be solved, but we were having problems with the back-end code, and couldn’t find the developers to fix it. I continued at the problems until Greg called.

Greg had been in town since late Friday. He had called me on the Saturday, but I had simply not the time to call him back. At 7pm Sunday night, I got together with Greg for a couple of short hours. A few beers, a few conversations and debates over my choice of Academy Award winners, and a short walk around town, I returned Greg to his aunt’s, arriving home at 11:15pm.

Yesterday was a blur. Too many things to do, not enough time. Same with today, which is why I only noticed 30 minutes ago that it was my father’s birthday, and I’d forgotten it. So again, sorry Dad — I didn’t mean to forget.

But at least Easter’s over. Maybe now I can get some rest.