Monday, May 10, 2010

Get In the Van: My Day at the Prom

Senior Prom 2010 has come and gone. And what a lovely affair it was. Girls in elegant dresses with movie star hairdos and make-up. Boys in tuxedos looking slightly nervous. Photos. Dinner. Dancing at Union Station in downtown Portland. It was an event to remember ... if you're an 18 year old girl.

My prom story is somewhat less glamorous.

Since Lisa had worked the night before ... and was working on prom night ... I was called into duty as Mr. Mom. No problem, it's a role I'm familiar with. Besides, it's Kate's last big dance, how bad can it be.

First stop, the florist to pick up the boutonniere. A simple white rose with a hint of purple flowers to match Kate's dark purple dress. Great. We were there, in and out, and home in 30 minutes.

Next stop, into downtown Portland for a hair styling at Dosha — a luxury we reserve for very, very special occasions. Getting there was a breeze, as traffic heading into town was light. But something was odd going the other way, as traffic was backed up for miles. Note to self: On the return trip, take an alternate route. Dropped Kate off at the door 10 minutes early. She said it would be about 45 minutes. So I drove around a little bit, then parked and did a little shopping. Fun. It was nearing the 45 minute mark, so I got back in the car, drove around several blocks trying to find a place nearby to park, then got lucky and snuck into a hard-to-see spot a few streets away. "I'll wait here for a minute or two until she calls," I thought. 25 minutes later, I got the "I'm ready" text. By this point, it was after 4 p.m. No big deal, except that she had a make-up appointment with the Clinique guy at Macy's in Vancouver Mall for 4:30.

"Get in the van" I yelled to her, "we've got to hurry." So off we went. Remembering that I-5 northbound was a parking lot, I quickly got onto I-84 going east, with the goal of connecting to I-205 and going over the other bridge into Vancouver. Halfway to our goal, traffic came to a stop on I-84. Stop and go, stop and go. After 15 minutes, we'd moved about a mile. "Call Clinique and tell them we're late," I told Kate, which she did. Just before the 82nd Street exit, traffic stopped for good. I maneuvered my way to the off-ramp and got off at 82nd. Followed the side streets to the airport, not moving fast but at least moving. Got just shy of the I-205 Bridge and traffic was again backed up. Turns out construction on the bridge had cut four lanes down to two. Ironically, this was also the cause of the back-up on the Interstate Bridge, as motorists were being advised to use it, due to construction on the other bridge. 15 minutes later, we were up and over the bridge. Stepped on the gas and got to Van Mall around 5 p.m.

Iram, the Clinique make-up guru did his magic on Kate. She looked beautiful. Got done there and Kate informed me that she needed a special pair of no-seam undies to go with the dress. "You didn't think of this before?" I thought to myself. So we raced upstairs to the underwear department. Kate explained what she needed and the saleswoman showed us the options. Holding up two different pairs of silky, skimpy underpants, Kate looks at me and says "which one do you think works best?" I looked at the saleswoman and said "This is not the kind of questions a dad should be answering." She laughed. We bought the black pair and off we went.

By this time, Kate's date, James, was already at our house. Kate got home, put on her dress, earrings, shoes and was ready to roll. Lisa was going to do pictures, so I had a few minutes to sit, grab some water and take a deep breath. 

Following pictures, my merry band of six kids in formal attire piled into the van and off we went, back downtown, to PF Changs. Dropped them off at the door, then I hung out in the van for the better part of two hours. By this time, it's dark and I'm parked, sitting in the van, in a creepy area of NW Portland next to a boarded up warehouse. I fully expected a cop, a carjacker or a vampire to knock on my window at any second. Got the "we're ready" text so I fired up the van, wove through The Pearl and picked them up. 

Then it was a quick ride to Union Station. Pulled up right in front, let everyone out and told them that I would be back at 11. I had a little less than 90 minutes left, so I drove home ... zoomed through the McDonald's drive-in (it's been a long, LONG time since I ate a donut at 10 a.m.) grabbed dinner ... went home ... and let the dog out. Naturally, for the first time on my watch, she decided to run off into the night. Found her after a few minutes (damn dog!) ... shoved down dinner ... then turned around and drove back downtown. Got there at 11:05 and they were ready to go. 

They had a blast! Dinner was their favorite part, and the dance was great, too. Lots of stories. Tons of memories. How can you go wrong having fun with friends in high school.

And as for me, I had a good time, too. Prom 2010 was definitely a success. And yes, that arm you see in the photo is me ... with daughter Kate sitting behind me. Good times.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, what I nice dad you are. Glad she had a great time. And you can see why I never complain about my commute....I go to opposite way of traffic, I cannot tell you how many times I have watched the I5 and I205 north traffic be at a standstill comming home :)