The day started out early as Amanda and I wanted to make sure we got to church early. Port City Community Church is packed on regular weekends, and this being one of the big two church days, we knew it’d be even more crowded. Sure enough, I think every seat was taken at the 8:30 service.
Walking into the auditorium at Roland-Grise Middle School, where the church is currently held, I thought about the first time I stepped in there for church and what a different experience it was. It was like you were walking into a rock concert- you’ve got people milling about and talking before the show, people handing out fliers, information booths, CDs for sale. Then you walk into this big dark room with a darkened stage set with all the instruments set up, big screens around the stage and music playing on the loudspeakers preambling what’s the come. What an environment.
After the service we went to talk to Amanda’s aunt and uncle, Anna and Barry Frazelle, whom we had seen and briefly talked to beforehand. We found them talking to Polly and Dave Clawson, our small group supervisors. Amanda and I often joke that Anna and Barry know everyone in Wilmington, and this happenstance just added more fuel to that assertion. It turns out that a while back Polly and Dave had visited Wrightsville Baptist, where the Frazelles used to go, and Polly felt compelled to go up and talk to Anna, thought she’d never seen or met her before. So they saw each other and were catching up.
After church Amanda and I went to IHOP. We had the waitress we had last time. She was very… brusque. We also had a problem with the cinnamon swirl French toast Amanda ordered. She wanted it without the whipped cream, but it had whipped cream on it. Amanda was in the process of telling our waitress that she’d just scrape it off when she just grabbed it and hauled it off to the kitchen then returned a few minutes later with it covered in powdered sugar. The reason Amanda didn’t want the whipped cream in the first place was that it was too sweet, and the waitress tried telling Amanda it normally comes with powdered sugar in the first place, which was clearly not true- there was a picture of the cinnamon swirl French toast right next to us, and there was no powdered sugar on it. Obviously they just scraped off the whipped cream and covered it up with the powdered sugar.
I tell you, it’s been a while since we’ve had any good service at that IHOP.
When we left IHOP we headed over to the Wal-Mart. Amanda decided that she was going to being back dying Easter eggs, which apparently they used to do all the time, but stopped a few years ago when Amanda’s youngest cousin (on the Lemons side), Kirsten, decided she was too old for such things.
While we were at Wal-Mart I was doing this obnoxious thing where I’d mention a random item I saw on a shelf then describe it in short phrases and ask Amanda if she wanted to buy it. The one that stopped her was something along the lines of “Doors Greatest Hits: CD; Jim Morrison; 70’s psychodelia; $7.99. Wanna buy it?” That time she actually said yes. The fact that Amanda likes The Doors was one of the things that, when I first met her, made me think she was a hippie chick.
We went back to the house for a while. I played some more Medieval 2: Total War and Amanda watched TV. I also made a few phone calls. My brother, Adam, had called while we were in church so I tried unsuccessfully (all day) to get back in touch with him. I talked to my mom right after church, and she said my dad had gone to Kentucky for the weekend. His friend, Larry Boots, was going to see his parents, so my dad made a game time decision to go see his as well. Mom was looking over finances and thinking about what all she and my dad could do about retirement.
I called my dad after we got home from Wal-Mart. He was already on the way back, not far from the Kentucky-West Virginia border. I got him to tell me the Slavic phrase Pap says every Easter: “Christos vostress,” to which one replies: “Voystreno vostress.” (You’ll have to check the spelling- that’s all Phonetic as I’m not versed in Slavic.) The translation is basically “Chris is risen” and “Truly, He has risen.”
I called my grandparents after that and talked to Baba for a minute before getting Pap. Dad told me that Pap was getting very thin- down to 140 pounds, and that he was dehydrated a lot. Pap told me much of the same, but at least he’s kept his humor about it. He told me that the doctors keep telling him he’s low on blood and hemoglobin, but every time he goes to see them they take more from him. He told them since he was so low they should give it back to him when they’re done.
I don’t know how to express the emotions I get talking to Pap. Like I said, he keeps his humor for the most part, but I know it’s tough. He talked to me about how he and his brother say the Slovak phrases to each other three times on Easter and when I told him we were going to dye some eggs later, he mentioned something about using wax sticks for the designs, and talked about keeping traditions alive. He also said he’s still trying to work on a project I asked him about a long time ago- writing down some memories or memoirs.
He talked about how much my dad talked about Jackson when he was there and assured me that I’m still “numero uno,” which is what he’s always called me, being the first grandkid.
After a while Amanda and I left for Beulaville to go to Amanda’s grandparents’ house. Michael got there a few minutes after we did (he’d gone home for the weekend) followed not too long after by Amanda and Michael’s parents, my in-laws Phil and Karen Mercer. After a little bit we started playing with the eggs, which was much more fun and engrossing than I remembered it being. One thing I thought was funny was that when Karen made a particularly pretty egg, she had to show it to her mommy and daddy. In her fifties and sounding like a seven year old. It was sweet.
The Frazelles got there after a while and Hannah and Kirsten made some eggs too. Hannah was excited about it when I told her at church this morning that we were picking up some stuff to dye eggs, and Kirsten, who thought she was too old to do it, had some fun too. Although Kirsten kept dipping her eggs from one cup of dye to the other before it dried, thereby messing up some of the colors.
We left after a while and got home around 8:00 or so. We were flipping around the television when we saw that Planet Earth was on Dicovery HD. First of all, if you’re ever going to show off the potential of a high-definition picture, Discovery HD is the channel to do it with. This Planet Earth show had been talked about a bunch recently, and man was it stunning. It’s a look at animals around the world in their natural habitats, but using new techniques to capture the images. They used this hot air balloon backpack thing for some shots, and mix in some satellite imagery (I assume it’s satellite imagery anyway), using hi-def cameras, super slow motion capture at times, and just, I mean the stuff they got it just gorgeous. There was one scene of a pride of starving lions taking down an elephant in pitch black. They used some sort of UV ray or something to capture it, and it was crazy, this elephant running away while lions jumped and clawed at it with one finally clawing its way on top of the poor beast.
During most of it Amanda and Michael were talking about apartments. Michael’s decided he’s going to go back to a drafting program and wants to get a job and a place of his own. I think that’ll be good for him, although I might actually miss having him around sometimes. Anyway, they were talking about apartments while I was trying to show them what a beautiful things was going on on the TV.
Amanda went to bed after Planet Earth. Michael and I got sucked into an episode of I Shouldn’t Be Alive, then he watched some Criss Angel while I dozed a bit until I got up and came up here.
Back to work tomorrow.