On August 15, 2013, we departed from Medford to Dayton Ohio. We returned on August 24, 2013. This is our report:
My kidneys and bladder shift into overdrive when flying. I don’t know if it’s nerves, altitude or my body knowing that I will never, ever, use a rest room while flying. As soon as I step off the flight I need to find the restroom. Speaking of restrooms Jan told me about automatic toilet seat covers they’ve installed in some of the airports. You can ask her about those but they haven’t worked their way to the men’s toilet yet. Maybe it’s because the seats are never down.
Friday morning I went shopping with Brittany to buy meals for the week. I’m not sure why Brittany wanted me to come with her. I thought it was due to my shopping skills and that perhaps I’d pay for the groceries, which it was my privilege to do. Then I found out that it was because she trusted her mother more than me to watch the kids on her own. She probably had a point there.
Whenever we go to our kid’s homes we find something in their pantry that we like and that we purchase for ourselves when we return. Brittany had several boxes of granola that came in different flavors she had gotten from Target; Coconut Macaroon, French Vanilla Almond Crunch, Chocolate Chunk Cherry, Hazelnut Biscotti and, you know you’re eating health food with a granola named Pecan Sticky Bun. We are now the proud and slightly heftier owners of several boxes of this goodness.
As I was growing up and relatives were going to come to our house for a visit in San Lorenzo I waited with high anticipation. As the time for their arrival came closer I’d be looking out my bedroom window constantly to see if their car was coming down the street. Or I’d wander in the front yard, scanning the block for any out of state license plates coming our way. I was sort of the same way waiting for Jordan and Christina to show up Friday evening at Brittany and Clay’s home. I kept looking out the door, down the street, searching the horizon for a van with Delaware plates. One time I opened the door and there they were, just getting out of the car. They thought it was great timing but they didn’t know I’d been looking out that door every 2 minutes for the past two hours.
Saturday morning I got up earlier than everyone so I could make my “I’d probably win an award if ever nominated” pancakes. They are pretty good and I’m honored that all my children ask me to make these for them whenever we’re together. Seems like all the grandkids like them too.
One purpose of our visit there was to witness the blessing of little Teagan. She’s a cutie. I find that with newborns you sort of have to wait until they’re sleeping to see their real features. When they’re awake they make all sorts of funny and unsettling contorted faces. As they get a little older those faces settle down and their true cuteness arrives. So, whenever I’ve said to one of the kids, “you’re pretty cute, when you’re asleep,” that’s where that comes from.
But back to the blessing. When our families filed into the chapel Clay told the men who were going to help with the blessing that the bishop wanted to see our temple recommends. That’s what a bishop is supposed to do but I’ve never been asked before. However, for the first time ever, I left my wallet back at Brittany’s home, you know, the wallet with my recommend in it. I think Clay did some fast talking to the bishop on my behalf, probably telling him about the brain injury and early onset of dementia. I did get to participate but I felt oddly like I didn’t really belong there. I told Clay the bishop kept slapping my hands away whenever I tried to put them underneath Teagan during the blessing.
Also following a Smith family tradition Brittany and Clay have a trampoline. All the grandkids loved it. First thing every morning Ty would get up and say, “Ty Ty jump!” Jordan showed off that he can still do a back flip. However, I think his body is still trying to recover from the twisting wrenching move.
The Air Force Museum was interesting. Walking around with little kids you don’t get a chance to read all the exhibits but the museum had planes from the Wright brothers, the plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki Japan along with stealth fighters, missiles and space craft. The UFO and mummified remains of aliens exhibit were my favorite. Just kidding. There were no mummified remains, the aliens were all working in the cafeteria.
Whenever I visit my kids in an area I’ve never been before I like to get a sense of what their lives are like. I like to see where they shop, kids go to school, go to church with them. I like to walk around the neighborhood and get a feel for their community. I inhale deeply the Nebraska, Utah, Delaware, and Ohio air trying to catch a wisp of the area’s aroma. I like to taste the uniqueness of the areas foods. I’ve had a Runza, Philidelphia Cheese steak, Water Ice, and in Xenia, Ohio- frozen custard. I thought it was a great alternative to ice cream. But then I learned that frozen custard has the same cream and sugar content as ice cream but with egg yolks thrown in to make it creamier, richer and fatter. It was delicious though.
Probably the highlight of the trip for most was our visit to King’s Island amusement park, just north of Cincinnati. Clay and Brittany had warned us about the long lines, that they had only gotten to ride a few in one Saturday excursion. Brittany thought Thursday would be a better day to go because most of the kids started school then. We arrived just prior to the park opening and there were just a few cars in the lot. We got right in and some of the adults ran off to get in line for the most popular coaster. We expected huge snaking lines but they got right on. In fact, that was the story of the day. We never did need to wait for any of the rides. One park attendant told us that the coaster some were getting on had a three hour wait just the day before. Imagine going to Disneyland and there were no lines. There were so few people there I kept looking for the Zombies who must have been somewhere in the park eating the brains of all the other missing visitors. But there were no Zombies, well, towards the end of the day we were like unto the walking dead, but no one was sucking brains, just wind.
My grandchildren all got tattooed. Their dads wrote their cell phone numbers on the inside of their forearms in case one of them got lost. That way whoever found them could call and demand a ransom.
Jan’s a roller coaster demon. If there was a coaster to ride she was on it. The kids were amazed! Even Jordan and Brittany had to bow out of a few rides but Grandma, she just kept on rollin’.
The other part of this story is that I no longer trust my wife when she coaxes me onto a roller coaster by telling me that she rode it earlier and it doesn’t have any big dips and was pretty smooth. I don’t like roller coasters because they beat me up. I feel like I’ve been mugged. Well, I actually scream in high pitch wails so I’m a little embarrassed. So I get on this coaster and as it starts to head upwards she apologizes as she explains that this isn’t the coaster she thought it was. Yeah, this was bad. I told her afterwards I’d never follow her onto another ride. My back, neck, and head hurt. I felt like I had a concussion and every bone had wiggled out of joint.
It was a great time. Just one more lesson to share.
While listening to some music Tia started pounding the carpet with the palms of her hands. Maeli told her to stop- pounding the carpet with your hands wasn’t allowed in their house. Tia and I were a little puzzled. I asked Maeli why. She explained that one time she had poured baby powder onto the floor and was pounding it with her hands. Her mom told her to stop, that wasn’t allowed. I then explained to her that I think it was the fact she added a pile of powder to her pounding was the problem.
There’s some lesson to be learned there but I haven’t figured it out. Let me know if anyone else can draw some analogy here. Maybe there is no lesson. Maybe there’s just a bunch of cute there. I have to admit, my grandchildren are all extremely cute, especially while they’re asleep.
And that’s the end.