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With Gill due to arrive home for her summer visit, we tried to organize her airport pickup, the first dinner with the family, and plans for the three weeks she’ll be here. I say ‘we’ since I have given up trying to be in control  with this group. I am in charge of the worrying, cooking, and buying enough booze to see us through — no small feat. Crazy D insists on a particular, obscure brand of beer, L’il Sis only drinks red wine, I drink mostly white, Gill and Crazy D prefer single malt whisky and I only drink hard liquor if it’s gin and tonic or a margarita. I swear, by the time I’ve returned from the liquor store, I have enough booze to start a branch office of the LCBO. Is it bad that I spend more time, energy and money on the drinks than the food? Nah.

Gill is in charge of procuring an airport pickup for herself. She knows I won’t do it anymore — I’m SO over the airport run. After all the years of speeding back and forth to Toronto to help kids move, visit them at college or university, take them food care packages, schlepp their belongings back and forth, I have an allergic reaction when I see the freeway. So now, Gill sends a text to any likely suckers…uh, I mean candidates…and waits for a response. This time, the only taker was L’il Sis.

But even this couldn’t be simple. L’il Sis lost her job, found a better one, got a boyfriend, fell madly in love, moved to Toronto to live with him –all in the space of the past month. (Under normal circumstances, I would have been concerned that these life changes were happening too quickly. But, as she pointed out, she’s no spring chicken, knows what she wants, and is tired of wasting time.)

With her now in Toronto, it might seem obvious that she’d do the Toronto airport run. But she’s only partially moved. She took enough of her stuff to Toronto to get her through a few weeks, but left the rest of it, the part eventually going into storage, in my basement, garage and ‘office’. (Well, it almost became my office for a couple of weeks — until her storage unit closed early leaving her with a truckload of her possessions to be put somewhere.) I came SO close to having a real office!

Fortunately, Gill’s arrival coincided with  L’il Sis’s trip here to retrieve yet more stuff and take her new dog to the vet. (I didn’t have the heart to tell Gill that her retrieval is third on the list of priorities. But she won’t really care– as long as the ride is free, the dog doesn’t fart while on her lap in the car, and there is a meal waiting at the end of the trip. Oh, and a good stiff drink.

The trip to pick up Gill had to be carefully orchestrated. L’il Sis would come first to my house on Saturday, bringing her new dog (the one recently hit by a car) for a visit, she’d then do errands, finish up a sewing project for a client, have dinner with me, then return to Toronto on Sunday and return here the following day via the airport, doing a ‘drive by’ to pick up Gill. I was only slightly nervous when L’il Sis couldn’t recall which airline Gill was taking or figure out how to work the app on her phone that allows you to track a flight. Visions of L’il Sis going to the wrong terminal haunt me. But I must have faith.

Crazy D entered the picture when he called me the other night, wanting to confirm plans for Gill’s arrival. He has been working 16-hour days this week and is exhausted.

“So, Gill gets in on Monday?” he asked, wanting to verify the date. (This is unusual since Crazy D is the King of Getting the Dates Wrong.)

“Yes, next Monday.” I confirmed.

“This Monday you mean?”

“No, next Monday.”

“The Monday three days from now?”

“No…next Monday as in August 1.”

“Are you sure? I texted L’il Sis and I’m sure she said this Monday.”

“Now I’m confused,” I replied, irritated as hell.

“Not to worry. I’ll text her again.”

I felt we were reliving the old Abbot and Costello routine of “Who’s on First”.

A few texts and phone calls later, we were all in agreement about the date. Then Gill commented, “At least it’s L’il Sis picking me up and not Crazy D. Last time he did the run, he was waiting for me in Departures while I was cooling my heels in Arrivals.”

“Well, you know Crazy D. He was probably a bit spacey from work and he tends to confuse things on a good day. You were actually lucky he got the day of the week and the time right. It could have gone so much worse.”

Since everyone is so busy these days, we’re trying to pack a lot into the first day. And, since I know one of the reasons Gill likes to come home in summer is to eat tomatoes, corn and peaches, I will likely have to cook ten dishes so she gets everything for her first meal– in case she goes into fresh produce withdrawal after living in England for all this time. And since recent additions to the family (L’il Sis’s boyfriend and Crazy D’s girlfriend) are vegetarians, I have once again been forced to branch out from the all-meat diet. I knew going in that I’d be cooking for days. Oh well…I was getting rusty anyway. My summer favorite ‘go to’ meals are popcorn and ice cream. Wouldn’t want to lose my culinary talents.

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