Weekends, relationships, and parties

Friday night was not fun. Erin and I got together after work, headed down to her place to eat pizza and watch Indiana Jones movies. Or at least that was the plan. We watched the second half of “Last Crusade” (having started it a couple nights earlier), and had a great time. But as we started to watch “Temple of Doom”, things turned a slightly darker note.

We’d been discussing why I hate dancing. (It’s a long, sordid story that I’m not going to detail here.) Erin wanted to know why, but I didn’t want to tell her. She kept at it, repeatedly demanding to know. Suddenly, I found myself blasted four years into the past, and it wasn’t Erin who was asking me, it was Allison.

All the dread, fear, anguish, and pain that I had thought long gone washed over me like an oil spill washing up on a rocky shore. I felt completely helpless. For almost a half hour, I was unable to do or say anything. Erin was beside herself — she had no idea what to do. She’d never seen this sort of thing before, and didn’t know how to handle it. Not that I could blame her.

It’s a test. Not an intentional one, I have to say, but it is a test nonetheless. A test of how we deal with problems when they arise, and a test of how I’m able to adjust having someone else in my life again. Had this happened on my own, I’d probably have just gone for a walk, watched a movie, played a game, something to dull the mind. But not anymore, now I need to work it through. It’s a good thing — I’ve let these old issues sit far too long.

Saturday got off to a slow start. I didn’t sleep well at all. I ached all over, and memories of the night before were still far too fresh in my mind. But I looked at the day with fresher eyes — I wanted to have a good day.

Erin and I met up with her parents and Aunt Edie at Joey Tomato’s at Chinook a few minutes before noon. Erin’s father was parading around in shorts, despite the fact that the outside temperature was barely 10 degrees. (Later, I would agree with the choice of attire, since the temperature would rise throughout the day.)

Lunch was excellent, of course, though a little quieter than some of the meals I’ve had with Erin’s family. Well, quiet except when Erin’s dad was prodding me to rib Erin a little bit. Not that it takes much to get me to do it, I’m nearly convinced Erin’s dad loves it when I’m the antagonist.

After lunch, Erin, her mom, and her aunt went shopping. Erin’s dad and I sauntered across Macleod to the Staples. Erin’s dad wanted my opinion on a scanner he had put on hold. This was the first time I’d been left alone with Erin’s father. It’s probably the single most nerve-wracking thing for a guy to go through. Erin had already been left alone with my aunt, grandmother, and cousins, so it was only fair (certainly to a point) that I spend some time with just her father, even if under the pretenses of assisting in buying a scanner.

I’d never seen the Canon LiDE 80 before — it’s a new one to me. (Not that I’ve researched scanners for a while.) But it’s small, light, powered through the USB port, and comes with a negative scanning adapter (definitely a useful tool). I want one. I haven’t had a scanner in almost four years, and I have to say, I need one badly. I’ve got a huge pile of photographs and negatives just calling out to be scanned. I just don’t have $250 laying around to be used.

Oh well, things to plan for.

Dropping the scanner off in the car, Erin’s dad and I retreated to Chapters to wait for Erin, her mom, and her aunt. We shared a hot chocolate and cranberry juice, chatted, and waited. Didn’t take too long before we were all reunited. The reunion was short, as Erin’s parents and aunt had other things to do.

Erin and I took off to 17th Ave. This is one of Calgary’s prime shopping areas. It’s also home to Erin’s favourite store: I-Appeal. If Erin had the chance, she’d probably buy everything in the store to decorate her condo. But she had a limit of $20, keeping her to just two “decorative” elves. (I think they’re kinda creepily ugly, personally, but Erin thinks they’re the bees knees.)

Plans that evening were to attend a long-delayed housewarming for Fritz and Jin. This, of course, means I needed to bring a suitable housewarming gift. For some reason, I’m a big fan of glass flower vases — I don’t know why. As Fritz is a Designer (and certainly Jin is quite stylish), I needed something that would be suitable. Luckily, I-Appeal had just what I was looking for.

After a quick stop at Blockbuster (gift certificates), it was into Reid’s for some wrapping paper. We then wandered over to 8th St. to stop into Janice Beaton. It had been far too long since my last high-quality cheese fix. I tried to convince Erin that she needed to try some, but it seems there’s desire for cheese — and then there’s me. (I did manage to convince her a little later.) Of course, we had to stop in Bernard Callebaut (it’s almost impossible to pass it by) for a couple bites. A short stop at the house (to drop off the cheese and wrap the present), and we were off to Fritz and Jin’s.

Fritz and Jin moved into their condo in July, after waiting another year following their condo burning down (luckily, they hadn’t been living there at the time) in a collosal fire. Although housewarmings usually take place not long after moving in, Fritz and Jin had some things they had to attend to, first. So, almost three months later, they finally got to have their party.

Well, the first of a couple, anyway. They’ve got co-workers and Jin’s friends to deal with, as well.

Erin and I were the first to arrive. No big surprise there — our group of friends aren’t exactly the most punctual kind. It gave us time to chat with Fritz and Jin until the others started to appear. Doug, Jensenne and Jon, Virgil, Jon and Pearl, and Teak and Rose soon rounded out our little group. With the tour of the condo out of the way, we proceeded to scatter about the kitchen/dining/living space and chat.

Some of us hadn’t seen the others in quite some time. For example, I can’t really remember the last time I saw Jon and Pearl, but it had been quite a while. It was there that we found out for the first time that they’re getting engaged — they just have to wait for the ring. Good news, indeed.

Food was plentiful, if perhaps on the not-quite-so nutritious side — Asian snack foods. Tasty, but not exactly wholesome. Real food came in the form of pizza, which Fritz and Doug went to pick up.

This group is loosely known as the ABCs — the Asian Brother Crew. This is Chris’ name for the lot of us. The only missing members were Calvin (MIA, near as we could tell), Chris (still in Japan), Adrian (in Japan, visiting Chris), and Tamara (who, sadly, forgot). As it had been a very long time since the last time together, we marked the occasion with a photograph.

The evening would not end there, however. One thing we particularly like doing is bowl. Yeah, kinda hokey, I know, but it’s fun. Especially when we’re making fun of the way we play. So we all raced up to Let’s Bowl in the Northeast — our favourite lane. As it was 21:30 when we arrived, we figured on a decent amount of time to play. Or so we thought.

An hour and a half wait. For all the times we’d been there before, we’d never seen a wait that long. And we weren’t about to wait. A hurried conversation of where to go next drummed up Pacific Place (formerly known as Franklin Mall), which had bowling lanes. Best part was, it was only a few minutes drive away.

Erin and I initially lost everyone else. They’d gone around front, where they couldn’t get into the bowling alley. Erin and I went around back (actually by mistake). A few cell phone calls later, and everyone was assembled to play. Our hopes were initially dashed a wee bit when we realized it was five pin bowling instead of the usual 10-pin. It had been a long time since the last time I’d bowled five pin, and I was kind of looking forward to it.

And as it was Erin’s first time bowling in 14 years, I think she was looking forward to it, too.

I won’t recount the games — there’s no point. Erin did far better than she thought she would (I’m sure). I bowled okay, though I kept shooting to the left, for some reason. And right after we noticed that the display not only showed the score but also how fast the ball was moving, a few of us tried to get the fastest throw. Fritz won with 43.5 km/h. (I could only do 42.3 km/h.)

The game, and the party, broke up after that. Most of us were tired — it had been a long day for all. (Especially Teak, who’d played two back-to-back games of street hockey before coming to the party.)

Can’t wait until someone else buys a home.