Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Visiting Nana

On Tuesday we headed even farther North, all the way up to Vermont to stay with my mother. Halfway to our destination I called up my mom to give her an ETA and to get her new address. My mom had just moved to her new house and this would be our first look at it. She had moved from a house on a dirt road on the very outskirts of town to one right smack dab in the heart of town. I know the street she had moved to and I had a vague idea which house it was, but I needed to ask her the particulars.

The house is a funky little Cape Cod that is set up for first floor living. She had a new window put in her bedroom, a stacked washer and dryer installed in closet, new kitchen appliances and, of course, bookshelves. Upstairs there are two bedrooms and a ¾ bath and downstairs and a full basement with another washer and dryer. My mom does not have to go either upstairs or downstairs, but she has more than enough room when we come a visiting. Coupled with the big fenced yard it is a very welcoming house.

Unfortunately it has been brutally hot this summer and the house does not have central air, just one little window unit in the hotter of the two upstairs guestrooms (it being Vermont, the house would cool down each evening making it bearable in the rest of the house). So as a treat for the kids my mom and I went shopping for a wading pool. Four stores later we found one of these:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It is not very big, but the kids loved it. It even sprayed water down into the pool from the underside of the pineapple top. I could get the kids in their swimsuits, lube them up with sunscreen and set them loose in the yard for a couple of hours of fun. This allowed me to sort through all the stuff in the garage and help my mother get a bit more organized. My job was to haul furniture either up from the basement or transfer it from the garage. At one point I had my mother accompany me downstairs to pick out what paintings she wanted to hang (We never did get any of them up while we were there).

As the week progressed we discovered that the house next door had two children: Lucas, age six and Lea, age 3 ½. They would come over and play with our crew. Combined with a park that is in easy walking distance, the new house was grandchild heaven. My mom really lucked out with her new home.

Larry and I also did a little furniture shopping in Nana’s basement. I was already getting a dresser from that has been passed down the matrilineal line. Mom no longer had room for it and I was to be its next owner.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

I also was getting a chaise that had always been in my parent’s room. When Mom first mentioned that she was going to be getting rid of some of furniture I called dibs on it. There is (or rather now, was) an empty corner in my bedroom. It would fill the space nicely and as an extra special bonus, Larry and I could send our children to sleep on it instead of their crawling into our bed when they appear in our room late at night. Combined with a table and lamp it also makes for a nice spot to stretch out and read a book.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

After poking about for a bit we settled on a matched set of chairs and a small wooden trunk. A painting by my mother and two doll houses rounded out our load. I had reserved a small truck a month ago to bring our stuff down to Virginia and we wanted to be sure to take all the things we wanted when we had the means to carry them.

Friday came all too soon and it was time to pick up the truck and load it up with our treasures. Our plan was to drive down to Connecticut that day and push on to Virginia on Saturday. This would give us Sunday to recover from our ordeal. It was going to a grueling drive since we would be driving two vehicles. Larry proposed that we would not try to stay together. It is very stressful to keep track of another vehicle when doing such a long trek. We both had cell phones and we could keep in contact through them. It was a very good idea and I readily agreed.

The drive itself was not too bad. I had the van with the kids and Larry drove the truck. Whenever I had to stop I would give Larry a call and he would show up 15 minutes later. I would give him a head start, but the truck had a governor and I would end up passing Larry. During the drive I had two funny incidents.

When we go on long trips we bring a large number of DVDs to play in the car to entertain the kids. On this trip we were alternating Star Wars with milder fare. The screen is positioned so that the front seats can not see the movie, but you can still hear it. At one point the kids were watching The Return of the Jedi, a movie I know very well. During the scene when you first see Leia in all her bronze bikini glory I commented on what a silly outfit she was wearing. Jake retorted “Mom, it’s George Lucas.” I almost burst out laughing. We have taught our son well, he knows if it is absurd, George Lucas is fully responsible.

The next incident occurred in New Jersey. At the rest stop there was a huge line at the gas pumps (NJ has a ridiculous law that mandates only gas station attendants can pump gas. This is a very inefficient system that results in long gas lines.). I needed to gas up the van so I pulled into one of the lines. Just as I was about to reach the pump a silver Range Rover tried to cut in front of me. I quickly moved my van up and blocked the interloper. The attendant, a large bear-like individual, waved Mr. Range Rover away and directed him to the back of the line. At this point he whipped ahead of the car in front of me and pulled up to the pump. The driver then jumped out and started to flash a large roll of bills at the other attendant. I was stunned at the gall. The second attendant was wavering on whether or not to fill up the tank. The first attendant kept telling him not too. At one point a mechanic emerged from the service area and joined the argument. We were at an impasse for 15 minutes. I don’t know if he actually got any gas, but he finally pulled away. When I was paying for my gas I chatted with the first attendant about what had just occurred. He told me that it happens all the time. The best line he ever got was that the driver claimed his wife was giving birth. His reply, “What are you doing getting gas?”

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