DAY 1: Now, trying to plan this and not have Dad know about it wasn't too difficult. That is until me and my family actually got there. As most of us know, Dad's powers of observation are not what we would consider among his top 10. (We love you, Dad!!!) Mom and I, along with Chris spent many days before the event, talking back and forth, planning out meals, accommodations, invitations, and guest lists. We had a scare the day we left as Dad had emailed me at work with a question about our vacation in April as he was arranging accommodations for us. Before I had left, I had turned my "Out of Office" reply on my work email. Luckily, I had not mentioned what I was doing, but was just out of the office and Mom and her quick thinking told dad that I had a gig that weekend. He bought it.
Here is where the story takes a little "detour". According to our "Plan", me and my family were supposed to leave the airport in Charlotte, NC at 11:00am EST. Well, due to unforeseen delays, we did not get to the airport an hour earlier as you are supposed to. Hence, we were late for our flight and would not have made it. I think God was looking out for us, because it seemed that our flight was cancelled anyway due to mechanical failure of some sort. It seems that every time we come to see my parents, something always has to happen. Last time we came out, Chase's suitcase magically rerouted itself to Minnesota and we didn't get it for a day and a half.
Anyway, this throws off our plan, because we were due to arrive in Wichita at 3:30 pm. We had chosen this flight because we would be landing while Dad was at work and had time to visit and get settled in the hotel. Now it seems that this is not the case. The next available flight is now at 3:00pm EST and we would end up landing in Wichita at 9:00pm. This is obviously passed the time when Dad is supposed to be at work as he would now be at home. I called Mom to let her know the exact landing time. She then called Laura and got her voicemail. She left a message stating that she had to call her back at a certain time. Not knowing whether or not she would get the message, when the time came for her to call, Mom ended up calling the home phone number with her cell phone. Mom is usually the one who answers the phone so this wouldn't present a problem. She talked to herself on the phone and told Dad it was Laura and that she really needed to talk. This was Mom's excuse to come and get us.
We got our rental car, which was something to be desired. I had asked for a midsize car and they gave me a Ford Focus. To me this is a compact car. In Winston Salem, midsize means Ford Taurus, Chevy Cavalier, Dodge Stratus. These cars are considered full size cars in Wichita. I can only guess that a BMW would be considered a Limousine. Regardless, we ended up using Mom's van to help transport the massive amount of luggage we had to the hotel. This is what was tearing my mother up. Here we were 5 minutes from her house and she can't talk to me or visit with me and my family.
DAY 2: Friday morning comes and Mom and Chris come out to the
hotel. I had been up for a while and got everyone breakfast.
Chris loaded most of our luggage in his truck as we piled everyone up in
the Van and dropped off the rental car. We headed back to Mom and
Dad's house and started to prepare the food. Both Mom and Chris
attempted to make Haupia - a Hawaiian coconut pudding. Both of
their attempts failed. We are blaming it on old cream of coconut.
Right guys? :P Next, I pretty much raided Dad's cabinet for
any of his Japanese spices.
By the time we finished with the cooking, it was time to head out to get us settled in the Augusta Inn before Dad got home. We packed up the vehicles with everything we could think of that we needed for the kanreki. We almost goofed up and about left the kids car seats in the van. Luckily, I remembered just before Mom got in to head back home. After the events of the previous day, we were still trying to recover and with working hard today, we ended up taking a nice 3 hour nap before we headed out to Chris' for dinner.
DAY 3: We were up fairly early as we had a lot to do before the party that afternoon. Chris cooked an awesome breakfast and ever since we found out that the orange juice we were drinking was actually tang, we have been drinking it steadily ever since. Being towards the end of February, the weather was a bit chilly to be outside. After finishing breakfast, Chris and I got to work on the Teriyaki. It has been marinating for about 2 days. We placed a bowl of warm water outside as I strung the meat to be placed on the grill. I strung while Chris cooked. I think without really having to say anything I had assumed the role of the prep chef and Chris assumed his position as the sauté chef. Once we had completed the Teriyaki, we then moved onto the Lumpia. Again, I filled and wrapped the Lumpia, while Chris cooked it. This was working fine until we ran out of wrappers and still had quite a bit of mix left in the pot. We tried calling local Chinese restaurants, but with their lack of knowledge of the English language, they could not understand what we wanted. We finally ended up calling a grocery store and had Sandy pick up some egg roll wrappers.
Sandy and Lori took the little ones to the banquet room we had reserved and started decorating. This took a while as they ended up having to go back out to get more decorations as well as get us the wrappers we needed. Tension is now building as it is close to the time that Chris and Sandy have to leave to go get Mom and Dad and we still had quite a bit to do. Chris left me his cell phone to call me with the message that they were on their way. Chris told Dad that he wanted him to check out this banquet room on their way to dinner as he wanted to use it for his annual St. Patrick's Day party. While they were out, we had a major scare as a couple of last minute guests arrived after we had received the signal call. We won't mention any names, will we LAURA? (luv ya!) We called out to them and got them inside in the nick of time as not 2 minutes after they get inside, here comes the van.
We all had the cameras ready and the party favors poised for action as Dad walked into the door for his Surprise Kanreki. The look on his face when he walked in was priceless. (picture on main Kanreki page was taken by me) He was definitely not expecting to see me there. I don't think any of us will ever forget this day.