Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Family Weekend

Today was supposed to be Ben's first day back to school after Christmas break. He was so excited! We got everything ready, but as I watched the weather, I was a bit dubious things would go as hoped. Indeed, by 9 last night, Pville was already on a 2 hour delay. They were at 7 this morning, too. But by 8, school had been cancelled. We've got about 7 1/2" of snow now.

And tomorrow Ben and his brothers all have dental appts. first thing in the morning, so Ben will probably miss all morning at school. Oh well - that's the way it goes when it's winter. And you live in Iowa.

We had a nice, busy weekend. Friday evening we went to Walnut and stayed in a motel. The room itself was fine. We got a room with 3 beds for $100 - decent price. But they didn't tell me when I booked it that that particular wing is separate from the rest of the hotel. And the pool is in the other building. So we had to walk outside, in the frigid Jan. temps. with our wet swimwear and heads! NOT good! Although none of us are sniffling, so I think we did survive without catching our death of pneumonia or something. And then, when I called down to the front desk, requesting more bath towels, they told me I was welcome to come GET THEM! Excuse me? I have never stayed anywhere where towels were not delivered to me. By the way, this is the Super 8 motel in Walnut, Iowa. Save your money and stay elsewhere. Although, in their defense, the next morning, they had a really nice desk clerk on duty. She fussed over Sam and when he left his sippy cup down in the breakfast area (we didn't know this had happened) she brought it to our room. I thought that was really thoughtful of her. And they didn't have bed bugs. I'm a bit paranoid about that these days, so we checked all 3 beds and even stripped one down, just to make sure.

We antiqued all afternoon in Walnut and you know, for the first time ever, we didn't buy a thing. Half the stores were closed, which didn't help. I only found two things I was remotely interested in but decided in the end I was more interested in keeping my money.

Oh, another word to the wise about Walnut. Do NOT eat at Aunt B's restaurant. The food is ok, although none of us were impressed with how our white buns crumbled off our sandwiches - obviously, they use very cheap food. But the service was awful. When the waitress brought the food she didn't bring Ben's. And then she claimed that we had never ordered it. Uh, I think we know what we ordered! Not a good experience, at all!

Late that afternoon we travelled on to Council Bluffs where Paul's mom had a sloppy joe supper waiting. A bunch of family came out and we celebrated both Paul's birthday, and his nephew, Chris', birthday, who was turning 30 that day. That's a picture of them you see there. Paul's mom made Paul's cake an "under construction" theme with cement blocks and all, as a nod to our current situation. That was actually my idea!

So, it was nice and I got to see my beautiful great-nephew, Aiden again. Just in a month, he's grown so much!

Then, the next day we visited our old church. I always enjoy that so much! One of my friends there ended up sitting with me downstairs during the SS hour and we talked about writing. I picked her brain on my current FW story that I'm working on. It's a period piece and she is one of the few people I know who were alive then! Mary is 84 and told me she's already planning her 85th birthday party this year and wants to make sure I come. I'll be there! She's also taking a writing class at the Senior Center in Council Bluffs. THAT is how I want to be when I'm 85 - active, independent, and still learning. I knew one other old lady like her who greatly influenced my teenage years. She was in our church and became a very good friend. She died at age 101, which was her goal. She wanted to be able to say she had lived in 3 centuries. She was born in 1899 and died in 2001, so she made it!

We ended up eating lunch out on Sun. with Paul's parents. We ate at KFC, which is really good, but really bad for you. All I could think about as I was eating was how crummy this stuff was for my body! Paul's dad's behavior, of course, left much to be desired there at the restaurant. I thought it was interesting that the next day, Ben commented to me on it. He's supposedly mentally retarded (although you know how I feel about that dx) but even HE recognized wrong behavior when he saw it. But I digress...

We got on the road at a decent time and planned to stop at our church for the evening service. But then west of Stuart, traffic came to a standstill. It was snowing pretty hard. Eventually, we got up to the Stuart exit and were forced off by the police. We couldn't see anything, but found out later that east of the exit, a pick-up truck had crossed the center line and collided with a semi, which jack knifed. It was a fiery mess and two people died. That could have been us! We ended up taking Hwy 92 all the way home, which was a nice drive through Winterset and other communities. So we were home by 8 or so. I got everything unpacked and put away and even got all the birthdays entered on my new calendar!

So, it was a good weekend. But after 4 trips in the last 4 weeks, I'm done traveling for a long time - staying home for a long, long while!

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