what a week!

A week ago I was packing to leave for Illinois for a few days. DJ's grandson Josh, seen at left, was graduating from high school so this time DJ had to make the trip too. Ordinarily he goes every other or every third year. He is happy if I can get a ride up with friends from round here. Or he can drop me off and/or pick me up at the Atlanta airport. If my brother and his family are going to the same deal, I can meet up with them in their home near Nashville and ride up the rest of the way too. Options!

My friend Jane had offered to come in and tend to Skyler's needs while we were gone. We took her up on it so he would not have to be boarded at the vet's office. The private place we had used before had closed since we needed it last. This seemed to be our best option. We could leave earlier in the day and he would be happier in his own surroundings.

We usually have to wait to leave after 8 and then stop overnight in southern IL leaving about 3 hours to go the next morning. Coming home, we do straight back. This time we left at 6 a.m. and drove all the way up, switching off drivers every few hours. It still is about a 12 hour day of driving (about 650-675 miles) counting rest stops and meals, barring no traffic delays. Going up, we lost an hour outside of Paducah but coming home on Sunday, smooth sailing. I do some of Southern IL, all of KY and Alabama from the welcome center on.

Once we hit McLean County we split up for two nights. I went to my parents and DJ, to his son's house. That might seem a little strange but it works for us---each of us get to spend a little more concentrated time with our own branch of the family. Thursday was pretty well shot by the time we got there and early to bed after that long day. Friday, a lot of talking. Mom showed me her recent quilt tops and we looked at quilt patterns. I came home with a grocery bag full of novelties and some quilt backing, batting plus a box of books to read and quilt magazines to look thru. We had lunch at the Peace Meal center---my dad is filling in for the site director while she is out. Later, my sister Diane dropped by so we could visit a bit too. Then I drove to Downs for supper with DJ's family and then off to graduation.

Oh, not without mishap either. I was driving my mom's slightly unfamilar car and couldn't get the key out of the ignition. I am forever turning on the wipers thinking it is the gear shift knob---what does that tell you??? I went up to the house to have DJ come help me with it and somehow managed to lock the car behind me. I don't think I even knew where the door locks necessarily were! Yep, keys in the ignition and the thing is not in park. Josh spotted the problem right away but we could not get in the car to do anything about it. I had to call my folks to come bail me out. Josh's girlfriend Lauren said she used to do that when she drove a Malibu but what an introduction to me. Ditzy step-grandma.

There were 75 kids in Josh's class but they got thru the proceedings in pretty good order. It was a dampish, cool night which was a blessing with that packed gymnasium. Josh plans on going to SIU-Edwardsville to major in pre-med or pre-dentistry this fall.

Saturday I met my niece/godchild Allison for breakfast at a Norma restaurant. She had plans in Springfield that afternoon so that worked out best. Good to see her, if only for and hour or two. The waitress was a good sport about letting us just sit and talk since there were enough open tables. I picked up a gondola from Avanti's for lunch and headed back home. Two things we miss from "home" are gondolas (it's the bread!) and Steak and Shake so we almost always stop at one or both places when we are back.

My sister Janet, her husband Rich and daughter Randi were due in from Colorado sometime Saturday evening. Their other daughter Amber is enrolled at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and they are moving her back home for the summer. I didn't get to see her as she was gone on choir tour and not due back till Tuesday.

We kept in touch as to their ETA so Mom knew when to put the casserole in the oven. They arrived right around 6. Woohoo, they are here. Hugs all around! Not without mishap here either. Before we could stop them, Randi had pulled the car into the usual parking spot, right in front of the house. She only did what her parents told her to do. The problem was, unbeknownst to them, that was not solid ground. You see, the whole town has been going thru a year long (or more) sewer line replacement and there are dirt piles and gravel everywhere. The streets are all broken up from all the digging, etc. My folks' pile of dirt was just leveled off to ground level just a few days before; there is gravel mixed in with it but it was not packed down and firm, by any means.

Well, the car's drive wheel was stuck a good 9 inches or more. Rich couldn't get it moved forward or backward. Fortunately the "across the street" neighbors were home and came out to help. They unhooked the trailer they were pulling and manually moved it away to the yard. Then Adam was able to pull the car out with a pull cord thing by using his truck hitch and the trailer hitch on the car. Dad and Janet got the worst of the mud and gravel off with a spade and putty knife and Rich hit it with the hose. A lot of excitement before supper even commenced!

DJ had spent his day by going out to breakfast with his son and grandson inviting his golfing friend and his wife along. He also stopped to see another old friend from work for a visit and decorated his family graves while he was in town. Tracy, Luann and Josh had a bunch of graduation partiesto attend all weekend so it was good that he had joined us in Lexington for supper. The plan was to pick me up and I would spend the night at their house there since we were leaving bright and early Sunday morning.

What a good time we had visiting with the Colorado contigent! I think my sides still heart from laughing. My dad had gotten so tickled and Janet has a great laugh so you cannot help but laugh right along with them. I don't know if they were just a little punch from lack of sleep or what, LOL. Or if getting stuck in the mud brings that out in you.

Janet has been a busy girl, scanning all my dad's slides into digital images. I had not noticed that the boxes that contained them were missing from the bookshelves in the family room. She said that Dad and Mom's discs had more photos on them since they included more of the travel slides whereas the rest of us had the family pictures on them.

What a fantastic gift! All the old classic family shots are included. Some are also in our individual photo albums as prints but some I only recall seeing as slides. Here I am at 10 months standing in the stroller. At least I think it was a stroller. It saw service with at least three of us kids. The old square baby tenda made it thru the first 4 of us. I loaded mine on my screen saver once I got home and spent a good chunk of yesterday watching the pictures roll on by. Still, not the same as Dad loading up the trays and one of the 3 younger kids asking "when am I going to get borned?"
But it will do!!

The family will be meeting this coming Saturday to finally celebrate my parent's 60th wedding anniversary. It is in February but the weather was so awful with lots and lots of snow that they postponed the gathering till THIS weekend when the Colorado bunch would be back to IL. Too bad we could not have graduation be the same weekend as this event but we had to get home. What is that thing about "fish and company" and three days time?

So after a 4 day whirlwind weekend we were home by 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Skyler seemed happy to see us, though surprisingly did not meet us at the door. He is more vocal than usual and wants to play more too. Lots of running trips up and down the hallway since we have been home. Snuggling more too. I am grateful to Jane for tending to his needs while we were away.

One bad thing though upon our return: DJ had shut off the water supply to the house and the water heater. The pilot light went out and he could not get it re-lit even with guidance from Whirlpool on the phone. It being a holiday weekend we had to wait till yesterday for a plumber to come out so we would have hot water. The stuff in the tank was hot for awhile but not enough to wash dishes, do 3 loads of laundry or do more than sponge bath. The thermal coupling hose, tube whatever had to be replaced as a part of the ignitor had burned out.

Also DJ's lawnmower battery had completely run down. He was able to charge it up and run it last night but likely, it will need to be replaced. Just not today. They say we are probably going to have record highs this week. It is hot! Mid to high 90's with little cloud cover to filter out the sun's intense rays. This is more what you expect in August than in late May, early June. Our paper says our rainfall totals are still about 4 inches behind though we emptied an inch out of the gauge when we got home. It looks like most of the eastern US is in this type of weather pattern right now and it is not expected to move on any too quickly-----ugh!

Well, now that I can totally immerse myself I am getting in the shower and then I am going to blow hot air at my head. Silly girl, growing out that hair a bit! Thanks for stopping by--------

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