January 18

High energy day for dad today. Jon, David, and Mike took dad on a small-scale adventure around Stanford campus. They spent the late morning wheeling my dad around campus, stopping to grab some lunch and to visit the campus bookstore.

Dad absorbs books like plants take to sunshine, so bookstore visits were a weekly trip in our household. Since I could rollerblade (probably around seven years old), my dad and I would go on adventures all around Stanford campus to the bookstore, clad in elbow, wrist, knee, and shin guards, and of course a helmet. I know that the trip with some of his closest friends to a favored peninsula bookstore hit the spot today.

After grabbing some lunch, the crew returned back to our house in Lindenwood. Dad spent most of the rest of the afternoon in bed resting. The adventure today was more than he’s had since his first day of radiation, and it’s expected that his exhaustion will continue throughout the rest of his treatment. We still have yet to learn how his body is responding to the treatment, but he self-reports feeling much more aware and “himself” each day. Personally, I feel that he’s increasingly more tuned out with each passing day, but that could just be my subjective experience.

Mom, Andy, Kelly, and I shared a great evening together. As I’ve said before, I look forward to the weekends because all our local loved ones flock over, and the extra support makes a difference for everyone living at the house.

Alright, I’d like to provide some comic relief to this CaringBridge. The dust has settled and all the odds and ends are resolved, so I feel comfortable sharing this collective Wapman blunder:

Our family has four cars, three of which are the preferred vehicles. The fourth is a 1997 (I think?) Ford Escort inherited from my dad’s parents a few years ago. The car is a total piece of shit, and also moldy from neglect, but it runs, and therefore makes it a perfect backup car. Anyways, with the three kids in town over the holidays, we were all juggling schedules to coordinate car sharing and hospital visits. My dad was in Santa Clara, about 45 minutes from our house. One day, all the cars were occupied with the exception of the Escort. Thus, Miles had to use the Ford to get to the hospital, and on his way out of the car managed to lock the (only) car key inside. That day, dad was transferred back to Stanford, and the Ford was forgotten. It wasn’t until a few week later that Robbie raised the Ford issue.

Now, this was sort of Miles’s problem. But it became everyone’s problem because you need two people to drive out 45 minutes to the Escort to somehow retrieve the car back home. We all tried so hard to forget about the Ford: as if we wanted to use our downtime to pick up this piece of shit car that is so rarely driven that layers upon layers of dust, dirt, soda, and sparkling water have crusted on top of the car. It was easy to forget about it for days on end.

The night that Miles left, I asked him if I could use the new speaker system my dad recently picked out, only to learn that this had been left in the Ford as well! (Another drawback to the Ford is that it doesn’t have any radio, AUX, CD, or tape system, which is why the speaker system came into play.) Miles and I decided that we had to rescue the speakers, and secondarily the Ford from Santa Clara Valley.

We didn’t have much of a plan. Our brains are all a bit tweaky right now, especially our long term planning, thinking things through, and cognitive reasoning. Miles and I determined that the best way to retrieve the beats, car keys and
car would be to break in. On our way out, we told both our parents what the grand plan was, receiving two huge thumbs up’s. (Yes, most people would suggest calling AAA, a locksmith, a tow truck. The thought never crossed my mind.) So we headed over to Santa Clara with a hammer and some sunglasses. The plan was to break the window and reach down to grab the keys which were left on the seat.

So we get to the parking lot, with our sweet two-door car sitting there just as before. Ready for adventure, Miles swings the hammer into the car window, only to have it backfire – window not so much as scratched. We’re shocked. He tries again, fails. We start to realize that our plan has some holes. We take a break and think about it. Neither of us have any other break-in skills. We try the rear passenger window. After the fourth try, it works – the window shatters.

We clear the opening (rather small), and try to reach through to get ahold of the handle of the passenger door. Our arms aren’t long enough and the lock to the car door is broken and our fingers can’t get ahold of the lock to open it! We try using a hammer to latch onto the door handle, but to no avail. Our arms aren’t long enough, and there’s only one door on this side to work to get open. The notion that we may be driving home together begins to dawn on me. I bring my yoga mat out from the car we drove in together, in the hopes that it can help maybe latch onto the key out of reach to us. It doesn’t. We’re out of options, so we drive back home and leave the Escort with a broken window and a key on the seat. The beats remain there, too.

A few days later, my mom receives a call from the hospital’s public security and transportation services: they’ve found our car, however it had been broken into. Mom works it out with them to have someone go over there this weekend to pick up the remains of the Ford.

Today was the day for said adventure! My dear, dear cousin, Kelly joined me on a drive over to the hospital. We park our car next to the Escort, and see an urgent note that recommends getting in touch with the hospital’s security staff ASAP. We go to the security window, and ask for the keys. The woman kindly hands them over, apologizing for the break-in, and wishing us a good evening. We ask for some duct tape to get the window freeway-safe. No luck – the entire security staff is looking for a missing woman who had been dropped off this morning and is now lost.

So, Kelly and I head back to the Ford and unlock the door. Since Miles and I visited, the Ford has collected a few more beer cans, but is otherwise alright. We drive off towards – Kelly in our Rav4, and I in the Escort. The worst part: the stereo had been stolen in the two days since Miles and I broke the rear window.

All in all, this was one of the funnest experiences I’ve had in quite some time. At a certain point, I began to welcome the continued trips and logistics associated with the Ford, because they invited new dynamics and plot twists into the story.

Anyways, I include this to 1) spread some comedy, and to 2) illustrate how the collective Wapman consciousness is a bit murky these days. I consider this expedition to have been successful and complete.

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