Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Boston Marathon in Four Days

Grif and I did a Grandma Day on steroids from Monday-Thursday in Boston.

We had a great time.

Grandpa was in Boston at a convention and had a large complimentary room. I did not think the spacious room should be wasted on one person. Grif and I redeemed some miles tickets and went to keep Grandpa company — sort of.

Fourteen year old Grif was sure that there would be absolutely no problem getting his ten ounce conditioner and toothpaste through the airport carry-on security. He told me in no uncertain I-know-what-am talking-about, how-can you-possibly-believe-otherwise terms but he did refrain from saying the stupid word that one was a gel and the other a paste so neither were liquids. I guess he was right as both items passed right through both Chicago and Boston security. Even Grandpa who travels every week was wrong on that one. You must know how hard it was not to secretly alert the security scanners just to prove myself right. Grif and I are cut of the same like-to-be-right cloth—even though not we are not blood related.

Grif and I are not natural travel companions.

On an airplane, I like a seat on the aisle.
Grif likes a seat by the window.
I like to sit together.
Grif could probably care less about that.
It worked out well for us . . .
On Monday, during the day, on the way to Boston, Grif sat by the window, I sat in the middle seat. On Thursday night, our plane left at 8:30 p.m., Grif sat in the middle, I sat in the aisle.

Grif told me that he was mostly interested in taking the trip with me for the plane ride.

I was primarily enthusiastic about the history of Boston and the surrounding area.

Grif explained that he is not that into history. He likes living in the present and doesn’t believe all that stuff about learning from the past.

I thought Grif would like a bike ride tour—doing something active.

"No, not particularly."

He liked the tall ship ride because he had forgotten how nice it is to relax on a boat just drifting out to sea.

Grif was enthusiastic about having a TV right across from his bed, reminding me that his main interest is electronics.

Grandma, that would be me, was disinterested in TV but concerned about Grif’s interest. Hubby had all of the “Adult” channels blocked but
even so . . .

Grif forgot his wallet, his school ID, his swim suit, a hat and a jacket.
Grandma brought much more than needed.

Grif did not need a wallet, a school ID (that I asked him to bring in case we needed it at the airport or for fares into some venues but there was no need) a swim suit, or a jacket (the weather was warm even at night.) He did miss his hat but was fine without it. I did not use much of what I brought.

We I found a half-price swimsuit that looked twice Grif’s size. Grif insisted that it was fine. I coerced Grif into a dressing room and stood outside and waited briefly, ridiculously hoping that Grif would show me how it fit. I was astute enough not to ask. Grif emerged quickly stating that it fit fine and so it was purchased.

Two days later, I coerced Grif into going swimming by saying, “I bought you a suit and I want you to use it at least one time.” Also, I was pretty sure that Grif had not showered or washed his hair while we had sweated through Boston and thought the pool was a lesser request than a shower. And so he accommodated me by trying the pool, but really, Grif did not need a swimsuit, I should have trusted him more, I am pretty sure that a shower would have been just as entertaining for him.

Grif likes to stay up very late, or early depending on how you count time. He is a self-proclaimed insomniac that absolutely cannot fall asleep at night. I like an early bedtime, around 10:30 p.m., and generally fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

I like getting up in time for the complimentary breakfast.
Grif loves sleeping in the morning.
We figured it out though.

I got up for the free breakfast and brought back a few items that I thought Grif might like. Then I opened the shades and said “Sure” to the maid cleaning our room and Grif woke up. He ate, with no complaints, cold dried-out pizza from the night before and then we were off to explore by the early hour of 10:30 a.m. each day.

I love to take photos and record my trips. One time Grif showed a bit of interest and told me to take a picture of this statue with its hat. He thought it was comical.

Other than that, he appeared oblivious of the camera but was aware enough to duck if I pointed it in his direction. I felt like the paparazzi as I furtively tried to sneak a photo of him here and there.

I love walking everywhere and do not mind a few distractions or back tracking between destinations. My feet and my legs never got sore nor was I ever stiff the next day. Praise God for that and I mean that seriously. Obviously that was not so for Grif’s still growing body.

I would have been glad to take a swan boat ride because we were in Boston. Grif thought not.

I asked him to indulge me if the line was not too long.
It was.

Honestly though, Grif was an easy and pleasant traveling companion. He is very low maintenance in the clothing, shoe and food departments. He never once asked for a souvenir or if we could please go shopping. Shopping and souvenir hunting are also way at the bottom of my favorite things on vacation. We had some serious and some amusing conversations and some quiet stretches. I was delighted.

We agreed on most things.

We both liked the Duck Tour. It was informative and fun.

And we would both definitely like to return to the Museum of Science. It was fascinating. We especially enjoyed the Mathematica exhibit and I really enjoyed the exhibit of George Washington Carver.

We saw two IMAX movies, one called Thrill Rides and the other was Whales but I may have nodded off a bit during the last movie.

It was fun eating lunch as we looked over spectacular views of Boston, Cambridge, and the Charles River.

We both enjoyed Fenway Park.

I gave Grif no choice about attending a baseball game. I wanted to see the historic field and the Green Monster. Even though neither of us is a fan of either team, I thought it was a great game. We both liked the old ball park and we both love ballpark food—almost a different food for each inning but we showed a little restraint.

We both liked figuring out the subway and found it quite easy to navigate.

We walked the Freedom Trail because I just thought we should do that and we enjoyed the tour of the USS Constitution or Old Ironsides.

Grif likes routine, the familiar and dislikes change. He says that he is not normal for a teenager because he is a deep thinker. He is thankful that God gave him such a good mind. It makes both of us wonder how to turn on and off the switch in our brain sometimes. I was glad for the brief moments, we were able to travel together and talk about navigating life as well.

Before the trip Grif told a friend on FB, “I have to go to Boston next week.”

I’d like to believe that it was better than he expected. He graciously told me a couple of times, “I’m really glad that I came/went to Boston.”

That was a perfect finish for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Unofficial Report

Officially, the Gisel Girl Cousins have gathered for a few days every summer for ten years. In July, we had an unofficial Gisel Girl Cousin gathering.

Unofficial because . . .
  • We had no rules. (.i.e. Men cannot attend—although men do not want to come.)
  • We could not have 100% attendance because of some health issues.
  • No one was in charge--really--believe it or not.
  • We had no meal plan, when or where to eat--which is always disconcerting for a Gisel.

Unofficial because . . .

  • There was no Box. It's a long story maybe sometime for another post.
  • No Welcoming Reception
  • No Closing Ceremony
  • No one brought hostess gifts for anyone . . . except some gifts, I think, for the birthday girls, of course.
Next summer we are going to have one last official girl cousin gathering but scaled down—no songs, no gifts but one more Box Review. The pressure was just getting too intense and such a burden—especially planning a welcoming song and a surprise for The Box.

Ten of the girl cousins were teachers. I say were because all teachers except for the baby girl of the family are now retired.

Pretty much, all teachers are creative—it is required and goes with the profession. School teachers are also accustomed to having their own way and find retirement is even more empowering. Last year, our retired school teacher cousins demanded “No more creative traditions.”

Thus this year we went totally cold turkey and then next year after an official retiring of The Box all of the official gatherings will officially become unofficial.

It’s all good though. Unofficially, we talked and walked and laughed and got caught up on what was happening.

We learned and we were encouraged and challenged.

We posed for photos. We ate well.

We could not have planned for the concert at the Governor's Mansion. The Troubadours, an acapella singing group, were excellent.

And sister, Lou, much to her chagrin and the enjoyment of the cousins was specially serenaded.

Unofficially, I would venture to say that this gathering was a great success.

Without an actual straw poll, I’d speculate officially, that the future of the Gisel Girl Gatherings is very strong.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

While you were out . . .

Dear Hubby,

Sorry that we could not talk tonight. Here is the scoop on the last two days.

The “For Sale” sign is in the yard.

The car is ready to be picked up—$400+.

I have called Chad twice about the doorbell. He may come Friday night or Monday night to fix it but must okay those times with his wife. I talked to him on his cell phone at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday evening because he had not called me back and he was still at work. He is very, very busy this week—some project he was working was flooded.

The carpet was cleaned but they only did the family room and the hallway. At least none of the other rooms were damp. The floors all look clean though—no problem. I love our wood floors in the kitchen.

The desk is in the family room. Sorry for the inconvenience but it looks good.

The rug from the living room desk is in the family room by the patio door. The rug from the door is in the living room. I borrowed one of Lois’s rugs for the family room for pictures because it really looked great but I gave it back to her because it was from her front room. She loves it and uses it there every day. I was sad to give it back. I looked in seven stores for a cheap one that would work there but they were too expensive or in the wrong size or I just couldn’t find any. I am okay with the rugs not matching now. It was just that hers looked so good.

The coffee table is in the basement with little chairs around it for a child’s play area.

I moved the laundry room table to the basement. I miss it but it looks cleaner—more crisp.

The books are totally disorganized. Organizing them is on my “To Do” list. Some random books are on the bookshelves in the family room. The covers from some of those books are in the new study bookshelf cupboards out of sight. Should I keep the covers?

The tall palms from many years ago are at Amanda’s house. She replanted them all into one container. They look nice and I told her to keep them. Many of the other plants were given to her as well. I replanted two plants in new containers and put one on the bookshelves and one in the corner of the family room.
The plant holder from the corner of the living room is in the corner of the family room. I trimmed the tall plant in the corner of the living room way down and moved it to the opposite corner—diagonally. Some plants were tossed. Boo hoo. I offered them to Jeremy and Susan and Lois but no one wanted them.

The wooden cheese boxes are on a shelf in the basement storeroom. The corner wooden boxes are in the basement with a stuffed animal in each. They look kind of cute like cages but we will need to decide if we should keep those or not. The dolls, tea sets, marble machine, kids’ rockers and stuffed animals are in the basement. The commode chest is in the basement. The tall wooden rocker with pillows is in the basement. The basement looks nice and homey and not too crowded with stuff.

Four extra pillows are on basement sofas. Two from the family room are in the blanket chest. The basement pillows are in the blanket chest but I think I should give them to Repeat Boutique. I gave a large blanket to Repeat Boutique because the blanket chest was too full.

When we know someone is coming to look at the house, we are supposed to put the throws in the family room out of sight. I don’t get that but will do it. I left a couple out for you and I to use.

Aunt Vera, Lou, Donna and I took the two flower arrangement saddles to the Pettisville cemetery and put one on Dad and Mom’s stone and one on Uncle Bus’s. They look really nice. I was sad thinking about Dad. I miss him.

I sent the box with Susan’s new wand to her house today with Mookie. She emailed me that she received it.

The round table is in Susan’s basement. Two of the game table chairs are in the basement bedroom by the desk. The other two game table chairs are by the basement TV sitting area. The desk is in the family room. The girls had me raise the bird picture in the family room a bit so it looked better with the desk.
With the new family room arrangement, your recliner does not face the TV. Sad, sad face. It is comfy though to watch TV from the sofa. I think you will like it okay for a bit?

The laundry basket is moved to the laundry room closet. The recycling bag is also now in the laundry room closet.

The photos are labeled and are in the end crawl space cupboard. The extra knickknacks from around the house are labeled and on a store room shelf.

I took a basement ceiling tile to Home Depot and a man helped me match as close as possible some ceiling tiles. I bought a box of 12 costing around $70. I took the tiles from the TV area of the basement and replaced all of the yukky tiles. The extra old tiles from that area are above the kids toys in the storage area. I put some new aluminum pans up on the ceiling under the tiles because honey was still dripping in two areas. The new tiles are in the TV area of the basement ceiling. The old yukky tiles from the basement are bagged ready for the garbage.

The hot tub works. The hot tub man’s truck left oil spots on the driveway. The spots mostly came out or faded with lots of rain. The supplies for the hot tub are in the cupboard under the sink.

Krystyna is coming Friday to check if anything else needs cleaning—windows, chandeliers, wash our sheets, and vacuum the basement from my ceiling project.

Do you think we could get Kevin and some boys sometime to take our old ping pong table to Andy’s dumpster in Geneva before the business is sold?

I am babysitting for Amanda on Saturday.

The picnic with the Joneses is on Sunday.

Someone is coming to look at the house on Saturday between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.

The Realtor’s photos make our house look great. It was rainy on Wednesday when she took the photos so she added a sunny sky. How about that?

There is a message on the answering machine from a moving company that wants to give us an estimate. That came at 8:05 this am before the sign was in the yard?

I love you very much and will be so glad to have you home. I am praying about your convention pressures and your cold. I was sad to hear your plane was delayed. Do you get a free ticket for the hassle?

See you tomorrow. We have no plans for tomorrow night. Yay!

Hugs and kisses,