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Just One of Peg's Birthday Celebrations
by Don Doman
The recuperative powers of rest are one of the major benefits of vacations. On the surface, a one day vacation doesn't really seem like it's worth the effort. But believe me, they can be fun AND restive.
For one more celebratory event for Peg's birthday (Normal people have a day to celebrate. Peg is far from normal and her birthday celebration has grown to include her entire birth month of October as well as September AND November.) we planed a day and evening of festivities. On Halloween we checked into a room at La Quinta. The La Quinta is in downtown Tacoma about a half mile from the Tacoma Dome and only a ten minute drive from our home in North Tacoma.
As always it took us longer to meet with clients, answer emails, and send invoices than we had expected. We had hoped to check in at 1:00 PM. We checked into the hotel at 2:15 PM. Of course, our last stop had been for snacks. Peg immediately grabbed a book and went to bed. Wihin minutes she was napping. I put the food away after sampling and testing each cheese and dip. The mango salsa was worrisome and ten or twelve times I had to taste it to make sure it was good. It was.
One of our sets of grandchildren were supposed to stop by and "trick or treat." We were prepared with a bag of Hershey Kisses. At four, our friends Jan and Mike knocked on our door. It's always so nice to see them. Jan is almost through with her MBA in nursing administration and Mike has his own 18-wheeler. He only accepts loads that take him to places he wants to go. His latest job will take him nearly two months hauling high-tech tradeshow gear in the South, but his son is involved, so they get to work and drive together. He'll probably show up on TV since CNN is involved as well. He is using his semi to haul a communications trailer sponsored by Wallmart and ATT that will let the families of service persons call them where ever they are in the world.
The merlot was flowing and we were having a great time when more friends called from the lobby. It was almost five and we hadn't seen the grandkids, yet. We left a grocery bag of candy on the door handle and the four of us joined Rob and Vickie in the lobby. We had reservations for Porters Barbeque at 5:00 PM so it was time to move on. Porters is perched above La Quinta. We walked through the parking lots to get there. Porters does a booming lunch trade, but was nearly empty for our celebration dinner.
We picked our own table. For some reason all the women ended up on one side, while the men took the other. We had all eated at Porters before, so we knew about the size of their portions. They catered out New Year's Eve celebration and people ate for days on the left-overs. The six of us were joined shortly by Bill and Sharon. Sharon wanted catfish, and bill insisted on ordering his own pork ribs. The rest of us had ordered the Feast for Four, which we knew would feed eight comfortably. There were two massive plates of pork ribs, beef ribs, chicken, and hot links as well as servings of cornbread, mac 'n cheese, potato salad, and beans and rice. Bill couldn't finish his ribs, and our two massive plates were each left half full. There was plenty of take-home.
Peg had bags of gifts. Bill and Sharon gave her a laser pointer, which Rob put together. Then eveyone had to play with it. Jan and Mike along with Rob and Vickie were all sensible people. After the huge meal they all went home. Bill and Sharon joined Peg and I as we visited the Broadway Center for Performing Arts in downtown Tacoma for a visiting troup of Second City. Second City has been training ground for many comedic talents (Bill Murray, John Candy, Shelly Long, and many others). Unfortunately, there were really hit and miss. Peg and I have seen local performances of Who's Line is it Anyway, which left us wiping away tears of laughter. That didn't happen with Second City. We still had a great time, however. Afterwards Bill and Sharon joined us in our room (after finding the bar closed at La Quinta) for wine and snacks (as if we were still hungry).
The next morning Peg slept in until almost ten. I was up early and went to the restaurant for my continental breakfast. The restaurant was nice and the waitress was pleasant. I purchased both a Tacoma and Seattle paper and made out a "to do" list. The restaurant has large prints of photographs taken on early Puget Sound. It always fun to look at the old sailing ships and old tugboats working the harbors in and around Tacoma and Seattle. An early heroine and movie character from Tacoma was "Tugboat Annie." You don't hear the name mentioned much any more, but she was part of the Foss family and Foss tugs are still an important part of local history. In addition to the nice prints to look at, the restaurant also looks out onto a courtyard with swimming pool and trees. Long hallways lead the way to and from the restuarant. Many San Juan islands and boating images bring color and imagery to conversation areas that border the courtyard.
Although the continental breakfast had good choices for breakfast, a sign at the restaurant entrace offered bisquits and gravey for $2.99. I decided to combine my free breakfast with and special. From the buffet I chose a muffin, cream cheese, coffee, and orange juice. The juice was excellent and called for more. The $2.99 breakfast was surprising. I'm usually a stickler for hashbrowns that are brown, but this morning I didn't recite my general instructions of "burnt, burnt, burnt with an onion cut up in them." So, the hashbrowns were only okay. I first thought that I had a bisquit with gravey covering it, but it turned out to be a half bisquit with a sausage patty on top of it with gravey covering both. A favorable surprise. I finished off the sausage, the bisquit, the gravey and some of the hashbrowns and then headed back to the lobby. I poured myself another cup of coffee from a little alcove across from the Business Center and then used my room key to enter the small office where I checked my emails. Finishing my coffee I took the elevator.
Back in my room I relaxed awhile and watched TV. When Peg was ready we packed up and headed out to a noon meeting and finished our day nicely rested and refreshed.