Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We have made it past the weekend of mourning. As Irish a wake as could be had was had to the nines! My sister-in-law is one of those genuine GOOD people who never has anything bad to say about anyone EVER and counts everyone she meets as a friend. Just her 'friends' would have made one heck of a crowd paying their respects but Jim and Agnes have five children who are teachers, nurses, and Local 399 Engineers (like their Dad was and uncles all are!) and Jim has five siblings living here in Chicagoland, AND Agnes has I can't even remember how many siblings living here too. As he walked by those waiting in a line stretching out of the funeral home and down the block, one passerby asked if a politician was being waked! My brother glanced at his watch as he joined the line and informed us that it had taken a full 45 minutes before he could pay his respects. My dear Patrick held up well and in true Irish fashion spent those long hours shaking the hundreds of hands offered in condolence along with many a great chat about days past. The church was so full the priest said he wished he could draw as big a crowd on a Sunday! There were smiles streaked with tears as the grandchildren read scriptures and we were all reduced to tears as his eldest daughter played his favorite Kerry air on her tin whistle as the pall bearers lead him back out of the church. The threatening skies held back their load as we conducted the graveside ceremony. The great Irish entertainer Joe McShane was in attendance and at Agnes' request he played his guitar and sang "I'm Going Home To Castleisland" as the coffin was lowered. Ever so softly the deep Kerry voices of my brothers-in-law and my Patrick could be heard joining in and with that I was over the edge.....it took a three hour nap to shake the migraine. So here I sit in the wee hours of the morning. My sleep cycle is a wreak. I guess I might as well get to that post I promised about our mini-vacation to North Carolina!!!!! So Auntie Peggy had this 'clunker' of a minivan....sort of. A vintage 1992 Caravan that she calls "the blue beast" which, due to her ownership of a Sebring convertible, only sees the road during the winter months. The 92,000 miles in 17+ years left it perfectly usable but with the chance to get $4500 from the Cash for Clunkers program she decided now was as good a time as any to trade it in for something a little newer....okay ALOT newer!!! Since we needed a new car for Patrick (remember the deer????) we all piled in and headed to Charlotte where my uncle has a Ford dealership....and a lovely home on the lake....get the picture?!?! After many road trips to Grandpa's house in Sarasota these two are pros when it comes to passing the hours. There's always a lot of lounging...along with a little horseplay.... The digital age makes for a lovely quiet back seat!!! With their own playlists loaded on their own Ipods we solve the 'who gets to pick the next song' argument. One wake up call for my pampered princesses was the realization that vintage 1992 minivans did not come with built-in DVD players :) So while one slept the other used the portable DVD player! Along with sufficient munchies to last oh, say about two weeks, we made it to Charlotte in 15 hours. The next morning brought us into the dealership where in an Intro. to Economics 101 the girls sat in with us as we handled the paperwork. We've decided they NEED to be more aware of where our money goes and just how much the 'things' they take for granted cost. Auntie Peggy, meanwhile, was off doing her own purchase! Some how I don't think a handshake with Uncle Bill is going to be sufficient with the Ford honchos?!?! So here she is in her shiny new 2009 RED Ford Escape...with a stow away because hers comes with Sirius radio where the Radio Disney channel can be heard even while in the mountains!!! Okay, we didn't do all that bad ourselves! Here we are 'closing the deal' with my uncle on our 'new' 2008 MYSTERY color Ford Escape...yep we both went for an Escape!!! Over the phone we were told it was a "white" and when we arrived it had morfed into "pearl" which looked more "oyster" to us but which when we arrived home and parked next to my sister-in-law's exact duplicate Escape she informed us that her paperwork said it was "light sage". Whatever! We love it! It drives like a dream and I'm still trying to figure out how to convince Patrick that it's his idea to trade me for my Honda Odyssey :) One happy family in their new car!....and then the girls noticed something!!!! Dear lord please don't let this be a preview of their teen years!!!Daddy chauffeuring his princesses as they hang out the moon roof waving to their peeps?!?? Business now concluded...it's time for the vacation part of the trip. Lovely lake home with a lovely pool which comes stocked with all the pool toys a kid could want...yes it was now drizzling but who cares when you only have 1 1/2 days left to your vacation?!? As long as it was warm with no lightening then swim we did! We had big girls on baby float toys..... We had little girls trying to get the floating thing under control..... We had big girls trying to get on big kid toys..... We had little girls chillin' on big girls loungers..... And we had COUSINS come too!!! Auntie Peggy is not fond of me taking pictures of her in swimsuits but I think this one will be acceptable :) Wii golfed......and no one threw their 'club'....... We went on nature walks.... We went on boat rides too!!! I actually went on this vacation...thankfully only a few nice pictures to prove the point...no blackmail...that I know of, right Peg? Auntie Peggy was soaking up some vitamin D with us as we admired the lovely homes that Mari supposed might cost $559,000,000....not exactly an A+ student in Econ. 101 but at least she's trying to get her head around just how much work one has to do to earn the money for the comforts of life. My cousin, the captain of the boat, with his two little princesses!! Hey ya'll!! (Yep we're still getting a kick out of their cute little southern accents) We also had a blast of a family get together with our Southern branch of the family at a Japanese hibachi restaurant!!! We showed off our chop stick skills acquired on our Chinatown trip from last month. And Julia, our little chef-in-training, wins the award for most adventuresome...she did not meet a sushi she didn't like that night!! Wasabi was on her 'iffy' list but sticky shrimp sushi was on her 'for sure' list!! We followed up with an al fresco ice cream social where the only little boy of the group did some serious damage to his mother's bowl of chocolate chip ice cream! Julia did some posing in her Scooby-Doo outfit for a future eBay listing that night too!!! And then it was over...just like that! Julia gave us a wave good-bye as she joined Auntie Peggy in her car for the long trek back home. The SpongeBob material can soon be seen on special little girls living in Virginia and New Orleans...hint, hint Vanessa and Rhonda. With 30+ hours of driving through NINE different states what are the odds that we would stop at a rest area only to find Julia staring out at...what else???...yes, you guessed it...a horse track!!!!!!!!! None were out practicing and I think she was hoping we would say we would stay longer to see if any would come out but it was at this rest stop where we received the news about Jim and the trip home took on new urgency. And a closing shot of what 15+ hours in French braids does to Mari's hair....a throw away shot which just gave Patrick and me palpitations over the prospect of what lies ahead...thank God she's not into boys...................yet.
Posted by Spudsnsalsa at 3:20 AM