I met Joe at Panera Bread at 1:00. We had coffee and a bagel, and enjoyed the free wireless Internet access for a couple of hours.
I showed Joe how to get to podcasts, and we started with
I also showed him how to enter his gift cards.
I made an iTunes purchase, and downloaded the soundtrack from:
Love it, love it, love it.
We left there at about 3:00, and I stopped for gas on the way home. For posterity: $3.86 per gallon.
Donna arrived at about 4:05, and by 4:15 we were on the road for:
We had a nice chat on the way, a lot of it focused on John T.
We arrived right at 5:30, and in the lobby, there was a couple in front of us, and that was it.
After a minute or so, a hostess came out, and we indicated that the other couple was there before us, and that we were waiting for a large party anyway.
"Yes," I replied.
"They're all here already; come with me as well."
That surprised me, because I hadn't seen any cars I recognized in the parking lot. However, I knew mom and dad had bought a new car since I'd seen them last, and I didn't know what kind of car Meagan and Chris had. But, what I didn't know, was that Vivian and Jeff had also gotten a new car.
Everyone was indeed already there. Hellos and hugs all around, some cocktails, and on to ordering.
I had the "Turf & Surf" (and yes, they had it named in that order), which was listed as "market price" and resolved to $42.50.
Mom and dad had the same, Donna the Rib Eye, and Viv and Jeff the Filet Mignon. I was not in earshot to hear the kids' (Meagan, Chris, and Michael's) orders, but I think they mostly had things like fried shrimp.
Vivian had had a killer cake made, and the staff brought it out with one lit candle on it.
They led us in a rendition of Happy Birthday, and in the place where we said, "...dear dad..." they said "God bless you." I really had to bite my tongue from saying afterwards, "Thanks for that, but we're Islamic."
Dad opened his gifts, and with a surprise for all of us, Vivian and Jeff and Meagan and Chris had gotten dad the exact same gift: a framed picture of Dad holding Nicholas from Christmastime. Who knew?
I picked up the tab, which was $355, with a $55 tip already included.
Donna and I had a heartfelt talk on the way back about our time together, John T., life's lessons, life's meaning, and new beginnings. Warmth.
I went to scareyoke tonight, and hung out with brianrdu, av8rdude, and his new friend Joey.
Later in the evening, Kevin, Joey, and I played some cut-throat pool.