I absolutely love plot-scheming a surprise get-away.
"I just want to live happy. I want to have fun."
Because today, and because fun, and because I love to delight the shit out of Judy, we had an enviable oh-my-God class lunch, just because.
This kind of thing breaks up brilliantly the everyday of getting from the bed to the couch.
Not so long ago, Judy lamented that many of her cancer cohort had lamented themselves online that it was a massive win for the day if just that occurred: getting from bed to couch. I suppose she and I had since been apprehensively awaiting those days, yet hoping they never did arrive. At the time that she was lamenting, Judy had a spring in her step, navigated most successfully the house, and her job as a cop, and the kitchen, and her treasured nut-bag over-powered rev-head car, and the laundry, and the Hutch as per normal, albeit with life being a cancer-filled abnormal at times.
Sadly, Princess Wobbly Legs has now firmly added to her abnormal, like so many others, being grateful to reach the couch, and reach it unscathed.
Being together to tackle it all as one, though, means Judy has never had to have the thought of couch-success equals massive-win. I love that I am there for her at home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, as left alone she wouldn't make it now. Heck, she wouldn't make it to the toilet.
Even assisted by others, life's demands on those others would make the couch a hit and miss target. And if there were no one else, home would be left behind, and swapped for a palliative care joint. Fuck that for now. Life's for living, not for being miserable stuck on someone else's couch.
So together as one, and the couch as a given, it means Judy can set her sights on goals much further afield, and do her best at turning the everyday with advanced cancer into something engaging, involving and special. Together we keep her going, and we keep the fun factor up, too.
For my secret oh-my-God lunch surprise goal for today, weight was important in planning.
It was a table for six, and that represented just shy of a half tonne weight of formidable dining power: us, our twin sons and their partners: Judy and I, and Seb and Dom, and Al and Em. Gross weight was topped up by wheelchair plus miscellaneous other non-dining dead weight, like the clothes on our backs.
Alastair needed to inquire of his girlfriend Emma's scale-tipping, not knowing it already. He didn't give a reason to her why he wanted to know it, wanting to keep the details of the day out a surprise. Accordingly, I imagined he skated close to an injury moment with his lady at that sensitive inquiry, the like of which is never to be inquired in polite company. ("How heavy am I? Heavy???" ... and then the awkward, cold silence ...) If there were any repercussions, I'm sure they were eventually apologised for when the surprise was sprung.
Sebastian knew his partner's weight without inquiring. Because gym and being competitive about muscle gains?
And I safely knew Judy's weight without asking because I've been trying to shove protein and carrot cake into her for quite some time to offset chemo/cancer/etc. having its weight shedding way. Friends have regularly dropped by, too, armed with all kinds of weight loss contraband. She hit 50 kg the other day, by the way, trending gloriously and briskly upwards. Recent gains being a great success apropos the protein and carrot cake and contraband, but more importantly by a concerted effort from Judy herself.
It is for helicopters that you need to know these weighty details, for performance characteristics and trim. Plus other little details, like whether a given wheelchair will fit into the luggage compartment of an Airbus EC-130 without disassembly.
I had commandeered the day in Judy's diary, and presented it in the nonchalant lead up at one point as a shopping day. She didn't know what we were doing. Retail therapy was dangled as a lure by me to ensure clearance was assured for a relatively early 9 AM wake-up without reprisals. In hindsight it was a stupid ruse, as I later thought she wouldn't get up that early lately for anything unless it were a medical appointment that was unavoidably scheduled early. Fair enough, given how tired this cancer shit makes her. So shopping early as a decoy? Pfft. Shops shut late, idiot.
But I think it actually worked.
It should have been no surprise, given I know Judy so well.
On the night before, when I revealed the full gravity and extent of the day's shocking wake-up time: "Retail therapy. Bring it. I'd definitely get up for a good shop!" But equally not thinking it through properly, I now owe her a bona fide shopping day... for a full day... Then again, bring it on.
The flight plan was a black Uber-Fancy road cruise to the Melbourne city helipad, a rock star eggbeater blast to Kooyong Estate down on the Mornington peninsula, and then a short cruise down the road from there to Kooyong's parent company Port Phillip Estate, to plant our near half tonnage for lunch as a family, and try and top it up to a full half tonne for return.
Oh, and plus go chardonnay shopping to add a case or two of that lovely weight on board. I did promise shopping, after all...
Judy's preferred white wine tipple is chardonnay (made perfect by floating precisely two ice cubes in the glass). And her favourite chardonnay tipple of all time comes from Kooyong estate. Yeah, I know Dan Murphy's Liquor could deliver without leaving the couch, but if you want the job done properly, and to send a proper big "fuck you" cancer's way, you've simply got to jump in a helicopter and go get it yourself.
Deep in Winter we had somehow found a beautiful sunny day that you could not have have dialled up.
On arrival at the helipad floating on the Yarra River, Judy was surprised. Then she was blown away to see family converge to share the day with us.
Thank you Port Phillip Estate for a stunning lunch, and your brilliant wines, and happy and friendly staff, and your generosity. Judy's menu? Calamari, followed by duck, and finished by carrot cake soufflé. And Kooyong's 2008 Farrago chardonnay, of course, ice cubes on the side, and a cheeky Port Phillip pinot noir, supporting the duck.
And thank you Microflite for a breathtaking coast-hugging ride from the city, seeing Melbourne's beaches like never before. Thank you for over-flying our house on the way back, circling for a great view. And thank you for the go-around on approach to the floating city helipad – whether the wind, or whatever, the additional circuit to soak in the sight of our glorious city from above, bathed in sunshine under clear blue skies was brilliant. The delight of the delayed landing, beamed on Judy's face outshone the additional sights.
So because today, and because fun, and because delighting the shit out of Judy, we had a cracker.