Saturday was quite a day! So busy and fun! So crazy!
The night before, at about 10:30pm, I was arranging a lunch date for Saturday with out of town friends, texting back and forth like crazy people and then passing on the info to my husband's phone, unsure as to whether or not he was going to receive the messages since I had no idea where he was on the trip back home. We finally connected about 11pm, confirmed the plans I made for the next day and he walked in the back door just after midnight.
The next morning as we unpacked the gear and clothes reeking of camp fire and giving me a headache, he regaled me with stories of the adventures from the canoe trip. He did amazingly well this trip: he only broke one canoe seat, lost one paddle, lost the batteries for his headlamp and consequently fell in a hole at camp. BUT all his clothes came back home and not one item had any burn marks on it from falling into the campfire, plus most of the scratches and scrapes on his arms and legs from landing on a big log when he took that fall are just surface wounds and will heal in a few weeks' time. The swelling in his ankles from 4 days of kneeling in the bottom of a canoe was starting to go down and today is nearly gone.
While he was telling me about all the sights they saw and the gourmet meals they prepared out of beef jerky and river water, we were waiting for our friends to show up after an earlier committment they had here in town. Due to a problem there they were nearly 2 hours late arriving and the rush was on to get lunch together and get them off to their next committment. We went to the local Bobby's Olde World Pub and had a fairly delicious lunch and a really good visit, but we all felt pressed for time I think. Time pressure is not good for me. I tripped not once, but twice, over the 2 steps leading to the area of the restaurant we were sitting in and nearly fell...again...wouldn't that have been great fun...yet another trip to a surgical ward for broken bone repairs! In the middle of lunch my husband's cell phone rang and it was our former neighbours from our housing complex. PLEASE could we come to their house for a BBQ at dinner time. 20 minutes later the phone rang again...same fellow just making sure we had his new address. Less than 10 minutes later he phoned again...just to confirm we were really going to come. Sigh.... By the time our friends drove us home and rushed off, we barely had time to collect ourselves before my husband realized he had to go to the office for the 2 hours we had left before the BBQ. Off he tore while I ransacked my personal "stuff" to see what I could come up with for a housewarming gift for our former neighbours who just moved into their first house. That 2 hours flew by and before we knew it we were off and running across the city to that very house. I had been very careful with my choice of gift....a plate with a Ukrainian pattern painted around the edges....because I never saw any photos or decorations in our neighbours' suite here and assumed they are following a strict Muslim code of ethics...no representations or reproductions of any living thing so as to avoid the temptation to idolatry. hahaha I needn't have bothered: now that they are living in a large house, the walls and shelves are plastered with photos of their family members still in Egypt, old school photos of their own children and statues of all manner of African and Canadian animals. There are dishes with flowers and trees painted on them...nope, not so strict on the representations of living things!!
My husband was barely through our back door after his time at work when our friend called again. Please could we not wait any longer but come right away? haha Nice to be wanted, so off we went immediately! haha
Everything started off calmly...a tour of the new house and property, asking polite questions of the children about how they enjoyed their first 2 days in their new school, oohing and aahing over colour schemes and ornaments and garden space until some other friends of theirs, also from our complex, arrived as well to share in the BBQ and allow their son to play once again with his best friends.
The BBQ dinner was amazing: perfectly cooked and seasoned lamb kabobs. Perfectly cubed pieces of fresh lamb were interspersed with onions and red pepper slices on kabob sticks over a foot long. Delicious when paired up with a rice dish containing raisins and onions and cashews. There was tahini and tzadziki sauce, pickles, garlic stuffed olives, naan style bread...wow, it was wonderful home made food! It was fun meeting another nice family from the complex here and we hope to get together with them for tea sometime soon at our place.
After dinner was when the bedlam began: the kids were too excited to see each other to eat much. They wanted to get downstairs to the huge play area and scream and yell and try to kill each other, the way little boys do when being reunited after some time away from each other. The rest of us left the kitchen to try to get away from the noise a bit, but our host seems addicted to having the tv on all the time and at full volume. It was difficult to visit but we tried hard to succeed at hearing whoever was talking. Our host decided we should all watch a movie together on his new movie rental channel instead of trying to holler in our attempts to carry on a conversation. It seemed to me that a better and less expensive solution would have been to simply turn the television off, but...not my home, not my decision. My husband and I DID manage to convince him that no one would want to see a movie that starred Will Farrell and Ben Stiller and we deflected him from playing "Mississippi Burning", a rather violent old movie for a group of only semi-acquainted people and their younger than pre-teen kids.
Thinking the kids were staying upstairs to watch the movie, we settled on "Eddie the Eagle", kind of cute, somewhat interesting and mostly clean enough for younger kids to see with their parents. Weeeeeellllll....the kids remained interested in the movie for approximately 13 seconds before running off back downstairs to yell and scream and try to kill each other. My husband and I managed to tune them out sufficiently to catch most of the sound track of the movie, but were most grateful for the first time in our lives for the automatic closed captioning that our host was unable to remove from the screen.
The kids shrieked incessantly, but after about 20 minutes we adjusted our hearing to capture at least the parts of the sound track of the movie. All was well.........until, all of a sudden, about 10 minutes later, the Islamic call to prayer began to play at top volume over the electronic connector box in the kitchen. Our hosts ignored it, I am supposing because their guests were infidels and simply turned the sound up even higher on the tv. The call to prayer was only a few minutes long and soon we were back to only have to deal with hollering children. Unfortunately there are calls to various prayers about every half hour in the evenings and some of the chanting and praying goes on for quite some time. Each call to prayer was louder than the last and so the tv volume was raised each time to overcome what was playing over the connector box. It was like being in the middle of a sitcom. In the midst of the bedlam, quietly losing her grip on her tea cup and spilling it all over herself, the couch and the carpet, was the grandmotherly guest in the group. We were all concentrating so hard on hearing the movie soundtrack over top of all the rest of the distractions, none of us noticed what had happened until Grandma shouted out that she had burned herself with tea and also she couldn't find her cigarettes, so where were they?? None of us thought to pause the movie, while we all went diving for dry towels and burn cream and a voyage of discovery to find those cigarettes that had fallen down between the sofa cushions. Then wet towels and cleanser had to be found to clean the carpet and couch of the tea stains. We were able to tell Grandma she had not burned herself after all and it was going to be okay, so she smiled a big smile and set off to have a cigarette....in the bathroom...which set off the smoke detector in there, so we were all running about once again trying to discover the source of the fire, since we assumed Grandma was outside enjoying her smoke. It took awhile to get the smoke detector to stop wailing after we guided Grandma and her stick of burning leaves outside where she should have been in the first place. During this confusion, the sounds of little yelping boys, calls to prayer and the now forgotten movie soundtrack continued unabated.
After nearly 2 hours of shrieking, screaming, toy and head pounding children, incessant calls to prayer and the ever increasing tv volume, the movie finally ended and both sets of guests began racing for the door to go home. During all this crazyness we had been stuffing ourselves senseless with cantalope and watermelon slices, hibiscus tea, Turkish coffee, nuts and what have you. My husband and I thanked our hosts for a most fun evening and drove away. As we pulled into our parking spot at home and my husband turned off the car, I asked him if he could hear the wonderful silence now surrounding us. He could and it was glorious! That is until we got the giggles over our ringing ears and the hyper active kids and the determination of our host to rent a tv movie none of us could hear over the rest of the noise.
What a great day!
Our host wants us to do it all again next weekend...and the weekend after that...and the weekend after that....apparently we are now family and families spend their weekends together...."to talk about God!" We are not sure when or how that could ever happen midst what appears to be the constant noise in their home. hahahahaha
Yup, more great days to come apparently!