All I Wanted Was a Beer

Where should I start? Should I start in 2006 when we bought a townhouse with white wall to wall carpet, even though we have a black cat, a coffee habit and were planning kid (s)? Can I skip to the part where we bought the Dyson vacuum and it changed our lives but still rarely makes it all the way to the third floor where the cat likes to roll his black, furry ass around? Let’s go right to the part a few weeks ago where Saint Aardvark accidentally kicked over a pint of coffee, which he drinks black, and it cascaded like Niagara Falls down the highest of our three flights of stairs.

At least it wasn’t actually him falling down the stairs. That was my first thought. I was with the kids in Trombone’s bedroom and it sounded like maybe the earthquake-rapture was happening. Nope, just a pint glass full of coffee. That’s quite a stain, Jane.

We had been thinking about cleaning the carpets for a while, I guess for about 4 years, since we bought the place. “Yep, signing eighteen copies of the mortgage and thinking about the eventual carpet cleaning.” We went so far two years ago as to hire a carpet cleaner to come over but then he couldn’t stretch his hose from the van with the cleaning solution all the way to our townhouse which is as far from the road as you can get. He went away, rather apologetically, and we vacuumed some more. After the recent coffee spill we decided we would go rent a Rug Doctor from the Safeway and it would be better than nothing. But how would we do it with the kids around? Easy! My parents would offer to take the children as a birthday present to us and we would spend the time cleaning our carpets!

House of CheeseVark: Romance a specialty.

Saturday morning, only slightly tired from our exciting night watching Olympic Opening Ceremonies / Brewing Stout, I vacuumed the carpets and SA followed with the Rug Doctor Machine. It went very smoothly. We only blew one fuse once. Done by noon, we got changed and decided we would spend the rest of our day together having lunch and getting SA’s prescription filled. He had been to the dentist earlier that day, you see, and has an infected tooth that will be root canaled later this week

(collective gasp)

but he claims it’s no biggie, he’s had tonnes of root canals and they’re fine. They’re like butter.

After some discussion we decided to take a short trip hop over the bridge to Surrey WAIT STAY WITH ME and go to the Central City Brewing GastroBistroPubsalot at the Surrey SFU campus / Central City Skytrain / Surrey Place Mall MegaComplex. This is not as complicated as I make it sound – you turn right from our house, follow King George Highway across the bridge and take a right on 102 ave. Takes 15 minutes by car. And then BEER. And then walking around the mall to sober up and get the prescription filled before driving back to Burnaby to get the kids. Except:

– it was Saturday afternoon, which I had forgotten because SA was off work Thursday and Friday so every day felt like WhateverDay
– it was pissing rain, so mall-rats ahoy
– it was the first day of the Olympics – lots of people park&riding (illegally!) at the skytrain and / or going to the mall to buy red mittens
– there is an Olympic Celebration Site very near to the above-referenced complex – lots of people driving around wondering what the hell is going on and why they can’t see the signs properly and is this the mall or the celebration site or the skytrain station and wow is it ever pissing rain!
– and yes, I was one of those people because previously when I’ve gone to this Complex (to buy beer from the Central City Liquor Store – it is a pretty splendid liquor store, actually) there are two places I park and on Saturday, neither of those two places was available and it was like Christmas Eve, people, it was insane!
– also, I was hungry. Which didn’t help.

After several turns around the parking lot and the other parking lot and the other other parking lot I made the executive decision to FUCK IT and we left the MegaComplex in search of other food, beer or non-beer related, I don’t care, I will eat that guy’s sandwich out of his hand while he waits for the light to change. A couple of Surrey-sized blocks later (think farmland) I managed to get turned around so we were going back towards Vancouver and relative safety or at least familiarity and it was then that I had the feeling I have not had so much lately: Thank God I am leaving Surrey.

SA and I, before we had kids, used to drive around aimlessly on weekends and we would often find ourselves crossing a bridge to Surrey. It happens more often than you might think. We’ve explored Whalley, White Rock, Fleetwood, Newton. Generally we are open-mouthedly fascinated for the first few minutes but eventually it comes back to: OK that was fun now get me out of here. I’m not sure why. It might be the roads, which are several lanes wide and called HIGHWAY even though they are passing through urban centres. It might be the endless strip malls that make every intersection look the same so you have no idea if you are actually going anywhere or if you’re in the Hundred Acre Wood looking for Woozles with Pooh. Or possibly the housing developments by the side of the highway that all look the same and have names like “Heritance” or “Sunset Grove.” It might be that the streets and avenues are all numbered and it’s a grid system and I know, intellectually, that this is superior to “Dewdney Trunk Road parts a-z” (ask me about it sometime) or having all the streets have different names, or something like Broadway in Vancouver, which is also 9th ave but no one calls it that, but if one is unfamiliar with this superior grid system all it does is make all the streets sound like the same street and then suddenly you’re following an exit to the US BORDER are you kidding me? Nope, we’re going to Bellingham!

Not on Saturday, though. On Saturday, I knew enough to go back the way I came and after a few near misses with the jackasses who seem to think that getting to the next red light is an Olympic Sport so I should just assume they’ll pass me on the right even if the right isn’t even a car lane, just a bike lane, and passing the EconoLodge whose vent was blowing enough steam that it looked like the place was on fire (but it wasn’t) we were back on the Pattullo Bridge, nicknamed Killer Pattullo because people die on it all the time and why? Because they are either driving like bats out of hell to get out of Surrey or because they are jackasses trying to get to the next red light first! first! like a dooce commenter.

Also the relatively-new median (there used to be no median at all) is made of plastic. And when you’re driving you can’t stop looking at it, thinking, THAT? That row of kids-toy-grade yellow plastic is all that’s between me and oncoming traffic? And then you drive into the median because you’re looking at it.

Not that I did that. I managed to tear my eyes away from the yellow plastic median because I knew that’s what it wanted. It wanted me to drive into it.

We did not die.

We opted for familiarity once again and parked very near to my parents’ house where the children were and we filled SA’s prescription at my old childhood Shopper’s DrugMart and then had a splendid, if late, lunch at a small restaurant called El Mariachi. It is on Hastings Street near MacDonald and yes, I was starving by then and also desperate to get out of the car, but I do think it was very tasty food, besides.

When we got home, our carpets were dry. And cleaner than they had been. So, even though I had no beer at all, I declare February 13, 2010 a success.

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