Dad’s 94th birthday, part 2

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The Zoo

The next morning, I was up before Elizabeth. I couldn’t wait for her to wake up, so I snuck downstairs for some free coffee. She would have freaked out to wake up and find me gone. Passing through the lobby, I said good morning to an elderly male resident. He was pleasant, but mostly ignored me in favor of his morning TV news.

Returning to our room, I was glad to see Elizabeth still asleep. When I later confessed that I had sneaked out, she said, “Don’t ever do that again! Don’t worry about letting me sleep. Wake me up.”

She later told my brother Don what I had done, without her permission. Don asked, “How could he get your permission when you were asleep?” She said I should have woken her. Don said, “You’re pretty bossy!” She replied, “Well, this is basically my vacation.” It might sound like she’s a spoiled brat, but when she says these things, it’s usually with such charm and good humor that you just have to laugh.

I made scrambled eggs and hash browns with what Don had left behind for us. He had the guest room before we arrived. I offered Elizabeth some, but she didn’t want any. She wanted to go out for breakfast. No surprise there. She wants to go out for every meal, and Tara and I keep explaining that we would go broke if we did that.

I texted Don, wondering where he was, and could I borrow Dad’s car? Trying to save money, I didn’t plan on renting a car until Sunday for the trip to Jeannie’s ranch. While we walked and texted, I mentioned breakfast, so Don invited us to a free breakfast at his hotel a couple blocks away. And it was a great breakfast! Do-it-yourself waffle iron, cereal, eggs, toast and fruit — all free! It would have cost $10 a plate at IHOP with everything we got. As usual, Elizabeth ate roughly half of everything she’d put on her plates — yes, plates, plural — leaving me to scavenge the remains, knowing I hate to see food go to waste.

Finished with that, Elizabeth was already planning her next move. “Let’s go to the zoo!” she said. I had mentioned prior to the trip that it might be something to do in Sacramento. Elizabeth always wants to see the zoo, no matter what town we’re in. Good to know if we visit her cousin Michael and family in San Diego, which has possibly the world’s greatest zoo. We spent a solid two hours at the zoo, with the last half hour in the gift shop. We had started out in the gift shop, actually, where I bought my obligatory, every-four-years Sacramento Zoo hat. I knew I’d need one for walking around. When I complained that this second visit to the gift shop was taking too long, Elizabeth said, “Well, you know how us girls like to shop!” I don’t remember everything she ended up with, but one item was a small tin with some sort of jungle design on it. Inside were little mints looking a lot like TicTacs. She paid $4 for that, even after I said she could get TicTacs for less than a dollar at any dollar store. Oh well.

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