"Did they tell you they got a van?" Brother slurred when I finally reached him on his birthday. He didn't answer my initial call - made after I gasped when signing and dating a document and realizing I'd forgotten - and I was in a meeting when he got my message. So, on the way home from work around 10PM, I called and caught him at the bar.
"No!" I giggled. "Really?"
"Yeah," he laughed, sounding terribly adult with his deep voice and sounds of merriment in the background. "Dad found it on Craigslist."
"Dad loves Craigslist," I nodded.
"Seriously," he agreed. "He calls me about things he sees on Craigslist all the time. Anyway, they saw this van at a dealer somewhere, went over and Mom drove it. She said she liked it so they paid cash and brought it home. So now they have this bitchin' van."
"Bitchin'?" I confirmed and waited while he took a drink.
"It has that wood paneling," he offered and I laughed some more, turning left as I made my way home. "And ventian blinds!" he recalled. "But it is a pretty nice van, actually."
My parents called today - Mom to confirm that she was driving up to pet sit for me while I'm traveling for a couple days and Dad to apologize because he had to stay home with the van.
"That's fine, Daddy," I told him affectionately. "It is important to fix the air conditioning on the van."
"It's the Van of Awesomeness," he reported proudly and I laughed, thinking of my Wall and Barrier of Awesomeness. I wondered if we could use bright orange snow fence anywhere on our van and decided we probably couldn't. I took a sip of water when he told me they took it to garage sales with Aunt and Uncle. I choked on my water.
"Dad," I sighed. "You and Mom are taking your van to garage sales? Why?"
"We didn't know what we'd find," he replied happily. "And it's a good thing we did! We found a rug for the toy room!" They'd just installed wood floors throughout the house and wanted something soft for the floor. "It has blue and gold flowers on it," he told me. "I think it's from Japan or something."
"That's nice. And good that it fit in the van."
"Oh, we could have fit 50 of them in the van. The seats fold down! Your mom found a filing cabinet too."
"Cool," I replied, scolding Sprout when he began to nibble at the pine tree I just replanted.
I learned more about the van, asked how many cars Dad owned now (9, he thinks) and wondered if he was going to build another garage. I talked to the girls who had just arrived for the evening (Little One has more Webkinz - 14 now, she thinks) and Smallest One said 'Hi.' a lot (I didn't count how many times.)
"Tell Aunt Katie we'll bring the van to see her soon," Dad instructed his youngest granddaughter."
"Van, Katie!" Smallest One said.
"I heard, sweetheart!" I replied.