So Friday night on the way to dinner, The Oldest overheard us discussing a trip to the big VA hospital first thing in the morning. I had to go there to get fingerprinted so that my agency could send me there for work. The Dear Daddy decided to weave a tall tale for our Oldest Little. It went something like this...
"We're taking you and your brother there tomorrow so you can read to the old people and play checkers with them. It will be fun. Your mom and I have both done it. Think of it as a right of passage. It will be good for you." Dead silence from the backseat for a few beats. Then, "How long do we have to stay?" Depends, he says, If we drop you off in the morning, we'll pick you up the next morning. If we drop you off in the afternoon, we'll pick you up the next afternoon. While she was trying to decide which warranted greater horror, us leaving them or leaving them over night, The Dear Daddy waxed historical and outlined how all socialist countries demanded that their citizens perform community service and called it volunteering. She thought about this for a few minutes and The Middle Little piped up from the way back seat and said, "But it's not really volunteering if someone forces you!" That's right, The Dear Daddy said, but our current administration is leading America down the socialist path and these are some of the requirements. Lets get it over with. For this year anyway. I realized it was a lesson in times of change, but The Girlie was mortified.
She kept thinking of new questions throughout dinner. Where would they sleep? Remember when you used to go to work with Mommy at the burn center and you stayed in an empty patient room and watched movies? It will be like that, except with an older person too. How will we get dinner? And breakfast too, I guess? Well that depends. If the older person you're paired with goes to the dining room, you'll go too and sit with them, eat and help them eat, talk with them. If they get a tray in their room, you'll get one too. But what about our pajamas and going to the bathroom and having a night light and getting tucked in? Don't worry, they'll give you a hospital gown to sleep in. And there's a bathroom right there in the room! There's probably a night light so you can see when you help your older person up to the bathroom. But don't worry, you can probably kiss the person good night and consider that your tuck in. She was none to keen on kissing a stranger good night.
I kept waiting for him to let her off the hook, but he didn't. I kept waiting for her to call his bluff, but she didn't. I just knew any minute she would turn to me and say, as she so often does when he tells her anything, "Mom, that's not really true, is it?" But she didn't! As long as she wasn't really upset, I saw no harm in letting the tale play out.
Back at home after dinner, The Dear Daddy bustled them both off to bed "Because you have to get a good night's sleep. You're going to be busy tomorrow and we have to leave early to get the VA hospital in the morning."
And when morning came, he woke them with cheerful "Get up! We need to get going! It's your big day at the VA hospital!" And we were out the door by 8:15. Good thing, too. The fingerprinting was supposed to last until 1:00 pm, but they stopped processing people at 11:15, just 45 minutes after we arrived.
The grounds of the VA in Los Angeles are sprawling. The first thing we saw was an ancient church, which stupidly, I did not take a picture of! Here are some pictures I did take when I was finished with the fingerprinting. And by the way, The Girlie finally knew the jig was up when I got out of the car alone. The Pod said proudly, "I knew it all along Mom. You kept smiling at Dad, so I knew it was a joke!"The kids thought these giant sprawling trees and their exposed roots were awesome.
And they climbed all over them, and the groundsman said it was perfectly okay, "Let them be chir-ren. Lawd knows it's good to see chir-ren here!" I instantly liked him!What is he up to now?
"Hey Daddy! This is not funny!"
"Oh! Hey! Maybe it is funny! Yeah! It's funny!"
And this was also great fun but The Dear Daddy still refuses to let me post his handsome face!