Saturday, August 22, 2009

Staycation: Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of our week-plus-two-weekends-and-a-day staycation. It started off with something of a bang. Our girls have been in Oregon all week with my mother, and returned home this morning. Early this morning. As in, they woke up at 3am to get to the plane on time.

But apparently they did very well with it. Rather than sleep in the car (as I'd assumed they would), they delved into their books for the hour-long drive. Now that I think of it, I think this must mean they were reading by the strobe of passing streetlight...something we often remind them not to do...hmm. Anyway, by 9am their plane had landed safely and the girls and my mother were here.

We stopped home long enough to pack up a picnic lunch, then drove North for an hour, to visit my grandfather (my mother's father) and my step-grandmother.

Grandpa is well into the recovery phase of some surgery a few months ago, and looks like his old self again. He's doing his physical therapy exercises regularly, and his smiling, laughing nature is shining through.

Of all of my grandparents, he's the one I'm closest to. When I was growing up, grandpa was an optical surgeon. He was a busy man, but always made the time we spent with him count. He taught me to play pool on his billiards table, taught me to play all kinds of card games, and inspired my interest in all kinds of hobbies (the man tied his own fishing flies, painted beautifully, and even tried his hand at violin making). Summer days spent with him and my uncles in and around his backyard pool are the cornerstones of that collection of memories which, for me, define childhood.

More important than all of that, grandpa taught me a lot about how to be a good man. He loves his wife dearly and closely. He spends time with a person, not just near them. He has a constant, gentle manner. And he knows how to make a point without making you feel condescended to. I love my grandfather very much, and am very glad we made time to go up and visit. We should do that a lot more often than we do.

After a short visit, we headed South again, in order to get Mom to her plane home in time. In the evening, some friends dropped off their four children so they could go out for a little date night. Loud? Yes. Very. A constant demand on one's attention? Yes. But there's something very familial and fortifying about being surrounded by children. Maybe it's knowing that, yes, we can handle seven children at once. At least for a while. Don't get me wrong...three is enough for this family, and it was some small relief when their parents arrived to retrieve them. But it was also fun, and satisfying, and a very small price to pay for the reciprocal child-sitting we get in return.

So, one day of our staycation is over. But it was well spent. Today, day two, is all about spending time together around the house. More on that later, but I'm really looking forward to it.

Food log:

Breakfast: lots of chopped stonefruit, dressed with vanilla yogurt and granola

Lunch: turkey and provolone on whole wheat bread, and some baked potato chips.

Dinner: pepperoni pizza and milk

Snacks: three homemade chocolate chip cookies, a very small handful of Jelly Bellies.

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