Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We'll all be glad...when we're together again

Brian's spent the afternoon shopping for Greek spice, m & m's Lip Smacker Milk Chocolate Candy Gloss, crystal underarm deodorant, tape dental floss, Chai tea, large man t-shirts & underwear and Chinese 5 spice; all items seemingly unavailable in Ecuador. After living in Cuenca for a year he was shocked at the prices of everything, having spent $250 without even really trying. He also dropped by our old Marina to see how the boat was doing & to say hello to Flo (the dock cat). The boat needed work but the new owners assured Brian they were planning on tackling that during their summer vacation. Note: An old wooden boat always needs work; sometimes it needs more work than others however. Flo was unavailable but Brian was assured she was fat & fluffy!

Later on he met Shelley's two girls for dinner at Memphis Blues bar-b-que palace; true Memphis bar-b-que! If you like BBQ, you'll love Memphis Blues on Broadway near Granville. They have a family platter which has a little bit of everything and will feed 4 gluttons easily for a very reasonable (Canadian) price.

The next morning Shelley & Fredi set off for their walk, this time downtown. On two occasions middle-aged matrons stopped Shelley & Fredi and they discussed (in Shelley's broken Spanish) how wonderful Fredi was. Both times they were extremely forgiving when Shelley told them she was studying Spanish but found it very difficult. Upon arriving in the middle of town Shelley & Fredi sat on a bench in the park and people watched until a friend came by unexpectedly and they went for coffee.

That same afternoon Brian was in downtown Vancouver again shopping for things on his list that he hadn't found the day before. He was scheduled to meet up with his daughter & one of his sons for an early dinner (the other son lives in Toronto). They had been going to meet on Saturday but the necessity to go first to Vancouver Island put the dinner off until Monday afternoon/evening. He had a nice dinner catching up on the goings-on of the two children (both in their 40's) and got back to his bed for the night to find a panic email from Shelley. She was having trouble understanding what their investment broker was trying to accomplish and wanted him to talk to the man personally, since he was in town.

Brian usually takes the end-of-night-pee-Fredi-walk but with him away Shelley's doing that obligation these days. Brian has talked about the various barking maniacs at this end of the evening walk, but Shelley's basically ignored his mild complains until of course, she had to endure them for herself. First, there's the walled in barking dog. Fredi knows exactly just when to yip to get this dog's attention. Once his attention is riveted, he doesn't stop barking for the rest of Fredi's walk. Fredi seems to find this somewhat gratifying. Then there's the giant German Shepherd dog that lunges on the leash to see what Fredi's all about; Fredi barking frantically in it's direction. To give him his due, the owner always takes him to the other side of the street knowing it's likely a Shih Tzu owner would feel a bit trepidatious about a giant German Shepherd straining at the leash lunging towards them. Lastly, there always seems to be the unknowing pedestrian winding their way home after a long day. Fredi, whose heart is bigger than her body, lunges in all directions, surely guarding off all harm. Shelley "tsssts" at Fredi in an effort to shut her up but Fredi knows....her job is to serve and protect.

They have neighbourhood security men around our building. We nod and wave to the man during the day and at night the security guy whistle a special whistle as he bikes past our building to let us know he's on guard. It's a small comfort, but more so now, when Brian's away.

Off on their daily day-time walk, Shelley & Fredi ventured from their apartment down the street past the University. On their return trip, they stopped at the College grounds and lay on the grass and soaked up some sun for awhile, listening to a bunch of college girls giggling in the background. While lying on the grass Shelley noted "No bugs!" remembering that lying on the grass in Vancouver would bring at the very least ants. Upon their return home there was an email from Brian saying he'd talked to the investment broker and he felt all was well. Later on she got an email from the man himself which prompted yet another email from her to the broker asking for clarification on 3 points. Do these people never talk simply?

Brian's day was filled with more shopping (gentleman's leisure pants), a visit to our investment manager to pick up some papers and a visit with some friends from his last job. Back at Shelley's daughter's place, he carefully weighed his suitcase, now filled with spices, tea & English language books, to make sure it was under the requisite 44 pounds. Fortunately, the son-in-law works from 3 PM to 11 PM and then stays up late into the night, so he can give Brian a ride to the airport for his 4 AM check-in time. Once again Brian will wing to Houston and then Quito for an overnight and then home to Cuenca.

We'll be glad, Brian, Shelley & Fredi, when we're together again.

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