My mom went to Hawaii for a family wedding, but my dad stayed home because he's not physically able to keep up with the demands of travel. They both asked me to stay with my Dad in Santa Clara to keep an eye on him. My dad asked, "I need you to babysit me. Can you?"
My dad let us sleep in until 9am on Thursday morning. My dad lets Yoshi get away with things like eating multiple desserts, staying up really late, and sleeping in. Yoshi loves this. Duh.He asked what we should eat for breakfast. He suggested McDonald's which Yoshi poo-pooed because she's not a fan of their breakfasts. I was a little bummed because I now know they have decent coffee (a fact which still blows me away). My dad said, "Hey, do you know... the... International House of Pancakes? I haven't eaten there in years." So I asked Yoshi if she would like IHOP. Her eyes went bright and she said, "Yes!"
We drove to IHOP and my dad lamented the poorly placed handicapped parking spot. It was not near the entrance. We parked closest to the front door and I told him that there was no other parking space closer. He couldn't figure out why the handicap parking was around the corner. "That's where the ramp is," I replied, "I'm not sure why the ramp is over there though."
Yoshi got a hot chocolate, which she loved. That was the only thing she consumed though. Despite wanting pancakes she did not eat any. This is not unusual for her (she's picky and fickle about food), but it still pisses me off nonetheless. My dad and I had an overpriced, mediocre-at-best brunch. The coffee was lukewarm. I was lamenting my Santa Clara McDonald's coffee, piping hot, but not burnt.
We went back to the house, where we would have just a little bit of time before we had to head back to SF. I took this downtime to ask my dad if we could snoop around in the backyard tool shed – a cramped, musty place of hoarded treasure/junk.
Yoshi always wanted to know what was in there, and it had been so long since I looked in that I didn't know. So we explored. My dad showed me the place on the sheet metal shed door where a cabinet fell on it, permanently screwing up the tracking so it's even more difficult to open and close. Who knows why there was a cabinet outside next to the shed. It's not there now. I wonder where it went?
Finally we peeked inside. It had that same familiar smell of old tools and metallic mustiness. It was already really hot inside. Just like I remembered.
Lots of tools. A lawnmower. My parents don't even have a lawn.
And toys! My old Mumble Bunny, which was a battery operated stuffed animal with a moving nose-mouth thing. I liked to force feed it carrots. Puzzles! Some kind of Transformer thing. A fancy Happy Holiday Barbie with a ridiculously poofy 80's dress.
And a cardboard box that was written in Sharpie that said....
I have vague memories about this toy, but I saw it online a few months back when I was doing my random google image searches on "vintage snoopy toys." And now I held the box in my hand.
I told my dad we'd continue exploring another time, but that it was important to open this box and play with Bowling Snoopy. Of course my dad got confused with my sudden halt to the shed exploration. But c'mon! It's Snoopy!
We opened the sealed box and sure enough, there was a big ol' plastic snoopy, a couple of yellow plastic balls, and ten plastic bowling pins. I got a wet paper towel and started wiping them clean[ish]. Yoshi ran to the kitchen and got herself a paper towel to do the same. Never have I seen her clean so much and with such joy as those past two days.
My dad, Yoshi and I tried to figure out how to best set up the game. My dad suggested the hall, which was perfect. Yoshi lined up the pins. And then we had to figure out how to get Snoopy to throw the ball along the ground. At first Snoopy chucked the ball up in the air about four feet. That didn't seem right for bowling. Hmm... Ah, Yoshi realized that Snoopy had to aim down. Of course.
That game is a lot harder than it looks. I'm surprised any kid ever got a strike. When Yoshi knocked down one pin we all cheered like we won the world series.
And then we had to go. Suddenly we didn't want to leave. We were all having fun with this ridiculously impossible Snoopy game. My dad thought we were going to take the game with us, but I decided to leave it there so there would be an extra special game for Yoshi to play with at their house.
My dad asked if we would come back and do more gardening. I said of course. Yoshi wants to be my parents' personal gardener and make sure everything is in good order. Both my grandfathers would have been so proud.
My mom came back home from Hawaii later that night. I have no idea what my dad told her about my visit, but I think my mom was happy that I was able to spend some time there to keep my dad company.
I was honestly shocked at how great a time I had. I feel like I understand my dad better. It reminded me of when I was around Yoshi's age and we'd hang out together. He'd putter around in the garage and I'd ask about which tools did what and he'd show me how they work. He still likes to show me the latest tool he got, even though he's not quite agile enough to use it well. And when I was Yoshi's age, sometimes my dad and I would stay up late talking. He would tell me some random bit of trivia like how many times the average American moves in their lifetime, and then he'd tell me what he thought of that, like tell me all the places he lived. This visit, he told me that he doesn't really like to travel, although he would really like to go back to Japan to spend time with his cousins. He wouldn't mind if they came here though. He's too feeble to travel now. He wishes they would hurry up and visit already, but obligations are preventing that from happening.
In the meantime, he'll have to settle for visits from his daughter.