Danica, our lovely and loving overnight nurse, started Pablo's blood transfusion around 5:30 a.m. This meant that we were poised to bust outta there by 9:30. All we needed was a sign-off from the doctor. At 10 a.m., we were sayin our goodbyes to the nurses and hoofin in to the elevator. Mommy's out on her in-town vacation with her lady friends from New Orleans, and Grady's with Jimmy til Monday. So, us two Castelaz boys knew we were going to get into some trouble when we saw daylight.
Once we hit Sunset Boulevard, things got outta hand. We headed up to Peter and Brie's house in Los Feliz. The plan was for Pablo to check out my 1970 AMX (for those of you who don't know, it's a muscle car I've had for 10 years and just finished restoring), which is parked in front of their house. I got it back Tuesday from Jamey Rawlings, the car guru who did the audio and interior, and I've been itching to show it to P and Grady. Of course G's at an age where he wants to drive it and look at it. Hmmmmmm.... When Pablo saw the car, he just started laughing. Compared to my Prius, the AMX is a C A R: big chrome bumpers, black leather bucket seats and big tires. I assume that it looks like a Matchbox car to him.
We rang Peter and Brie's doorbell. Brie shrieked as she opened the door. Why? Cos she saw a four-foot bear boy with green Grinch hands standing on her doorstep! Pablo was wearing the head from his bear costume, and had on green medical gloves (he dubbed them Grinch hands). We figured they'd get a kick out of seeing him at their door. That P caused a bona fide skin jumper was really hilarious. We had fun hanging with P and B and baby Lennon, who is getting bigger every day. Pablo doesn't really interact with him much, but he talked about him before and after we got there. I think if you're five you don't really know what to say to a six-month-old. Kind of like seniors don't hang with freshmen. Pretty soon, P will be showin L the ropes. For sure. Just like P's older friends Eli and Isaac do with him.
From the Grousbeck rez, we jumped in the AMX. I strapped Pablo in with the brand new seat belt, and we—very slowly and carefully—descended the hill to Fern Dell Canyon. When we go to the wide open road on Fern Dell, I asked P to squeeze my hand. As he did that, I gunned it. The thrust of the car threw P back into his seat. He was screaming happily, and had a look of 'awwwwww f#*@!!!!!' on his face. When I pulled back on the throttle, he wanted to do it again. That's my boyeeeee! Burning rubber wasn't our goal. Our true destination was Trails Cafe. Pablo wanted a Snake Dog, the most desired culinary treat on this side of town. A Snake Dog is a hot dog or veggie dog wrapped in a croissant-like pastry. When you add in the ketchup, the Snake Dog satisfies three major food groups: meat, veggie and bread. Yum. I only took 1.87 bites. Honestly.
We ran into our homeboy Mickey Petralia at Trails. Not surprising, cos he owns the joint. Mickey has a son named Pablo, and also has a dream of owning an AMX one day. Had no idea! He had an AMX Matchbox car when he was a kid. How crazy is that? If he ends up getting one, we can start a web TV show. Something about 'two dads with vintage AMX muscle cars, and their boys named Pablo.' From there, the possibilities would be endless: we could solve crimes, commit crimes, collect pink slips winning drag races, hand out Snake Dogs to people in need, etc.
Anyway, I'm gettin crazy here. Better slow down. After a late morning snack at Trails, we came home and started the chill sesh that has been going strong ever since. Pablo's reunion with Chili and Beans was heartwarming and heartbreaking. So sweet. The dogs make him happier than hell. When we were walking to the CHLA elevator shaft, he said excitedly, 'Papa, I'm so glad to be going home. I've been here a long time, and I want to play with Beans!' Pablo is growing up and becoming a clear, concise communicator (concise is not in my genes), and this hospital and medical business is, in one major way, a great motivator and backdrop for this. One of the many positive things to draw from Pablo spending this key developmental phase of his life in the cancer ward.
I have a surprise for Pablo (and you) coming to the house later this afternoon. A piece of siiiiiiick art being delivered by the artist himself. More later.
Here's photo proof of our shenanigans over the past 24 hours:
At a nurses's computer station on 4 West last night. Maybe he was doing his own charts? The computer cart is called a C.O.W.—no idea what the letters stand for, but that's what they call 'em. (If you are a CHLA lawyer or government medical records compliance officer looking at the Pablog, don't worry—the computer wasn't on when he was sitting there.)