That was then, this is now

Happy 82nd birthday to my dad!

Blimey, 82 … how did that happen? I’m sure he thinks the same thing about having two daughters in their 50s.

His daughters decided 82 deserved a toast, so we made a quickie visit – with the youngest in tow – to see him yesterday.

I made a few tactical errors along the way.

For a start, my sister asked me last week which day I wanted make the journey and I said Sunday.

Saturday was lovely, all sunshine and blue sky. Sunday was absolutely abysmal, which made driving up the freeway to meet my folks at Belmont’s Gunyah Hotel fairly harrowing.

The rock faces beside the freeway resembled Milford Sound, with full-on gushing waterfalls, and there was barely any visibility as the rain gouted down.

But we made it there safely, where I made my second error of judgement by ordering my second strong flat white of the day.

I can really only cope with one strong flat white every 24 hours, the second always makes me feel pie-eyed.

I backed it up with a glass and a half of Hunter semillon, which was lovely, but alcohol during the day makes me soooooo sleepy, even after two strong flat whites.

My fourth error of judgement was talking my mum and sister into sharing a seafood platter for two with me.

Seafood platters always sound good on paper and they always look fantastic when they are delivered to the table, but I invariably scarf down a piece of cocktail fish, a piece of calamari and a few chips and start feeling squeamish because it’s so rich.

The Gunyah’s seafood platter was freaking huge, the three of us barely made a dent in it. But I felt obliged to soldier on because of the starving Biafrans from my childhood and the fact I have a second stomach for chips.

My first stomach, however, was very disgruntled by all the caffeine and wine and fried fish I poured into it, so I felt a bit blergh during the two hour trip back to Sydney.

But it was lovely to see my dad on the auspicious eve of his 82nd birthday.

We were reminiscing over lunch about when the kiddos were little, including when I was living in New York with the kids and mum, dad, my sister and her son came to visit us.

We did some incredible stuff together in New York, including a carriage ride in Central Park, a Harlem gospel service and a jazz session at the Village Vanguard.

The youngest has grown A LOT since that carriage ride with her dolly.

Then we all went to Disneyworld.

I was working for Disney magazines at the time and scored us a free two-bedroom apartment at the theme park, which looked straight out at a savannah filled with actual zebras and giraffes and other African wildlife. There was a sign in the apartment warning us not to hang our towels on the balcony as the giraffes might eat them … that’s how close we were to them!

It was an incredible holiday. The kids don’t remember a thing, but the adults will never forget it.

After two and a half hours of fried food and memories, we hit the road back to Sydney. Thankfully the roadside waterfalls had eased to a trickle by then.

Apparently Sydney is on track to be the wettest city in the world this year.

Thankfully the Wakehurst Parkway had reopened after being closed by floodwaters earlier in the week, so I ducked up to DD’s last night to make him sausages and mash.

We huddled on the couch together and watched the news to see what craziness had transpired in less soggy parts of the world.

Much craziness had transpired.

Watching the news is always a novelty for me because I haven’t had a functioning TV aerial for about four years.

I don’t miss free-to-air tellie too much and I can nip onto my ex’s Netflix if I ever need a TV series fix.

Life tends to be too busy to allow much relaxing on the couch. Speaking of which … dammit, how can it be Monday again? I’m not ready – wind back the clock!

Song of the day: Split Enz “Years go by”

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