By the end of the day I was feeling energetic enough to have dinner with our great friends Bob and Kathy Johnson. Ali had been anxious to try the poutine there and we've been too long away from the Johnsons. Great dinner. Amazing people. So-so food.
I'd planned to rest my leg a bit over the weekend. Ali and I were scheduled for some time down home. Jeff had craft beer adventures on his agenda.
I thought a few hours in the car, a baby shower and a retirement party would keep me from doing too much. I was sure that my biggest challenge would be staying away from the dessert table.
On the way down Alison, convinced that country music was solely about women, whiskey, dogs and pickup trucks. I countered that it was much more diverse. She started keeping track. I lost, but only because she was a stickler even for small references of her four word choices.
We'd no sooner get down there than we learn that Aunt Shirley and Uncle Larry were moving that weekend from their temporary home into the home they'd finally found and bought. It made total sense that we'd offer to help out.
But first we had Micajah's baby shower, a drop-in at Debbie's to see baby Alayna and her mother, Annie, and then Donna's surprise retirement party. The highlight of the visit to Debbie's -- for Alison -- was when Alayna spit all over cousin Aleasha. For me it was playing with Alayna. Seeing Annie was OK, too.
Donna had thrown a hissy fit when the idea of a retirement party was first broached. To comply, her daughter Jaime had an it's-not-a-retirement-retirement party. And to be sure Donna wouldn't catch on, she had it at Donna's house. As people kept dropping by, it became clear that a party was taking form.
It was manageable, though, even for anti-social Donna. Three tiny granddaughters and a euchre tournament made it pretty easy to take. I lost. Ali and Jaime won. We watched bad movies and just caught up. It was super fun.
Sunday did dawn a bit early. Ali and I had shared a room. Around 8 or so, we heard Donna and Jim in the kitchen. "How can we be in a family with morning people?" Ali asked, groaning. "It's so wrong."
Aunt Shirley and Uncle Larry's new home is a lovely three-story house down a gravel road surrounded by barns, fields and wooded areas. Three stories mean lots of stairs.
Six hours later, we'd helped pack up, and unpack two trailers and pick up trucks -- twice each.
Donna, Ali and I showed up an hour late. And God bless my little teenager: she worked like a demon without complaint. Debbie, Nancy and Dennis were there as well, along with Lori, my cousin, and daughter of my aunt and uncle. Recent and ongoing health issues kept the elders from participating much beyond direction -- which was a huge frustration for my uncle.
I'd always known that my cousin Howard was strong. But when he and his son-in-law Kyle started picking up freezers and mattresses and dressers and moving them from one spot to the next, I started
thinking I ought to start treating them with a little more respect. I'd planned on calling Howard "Grandpa" all day as I'd traveled for his daughter's (and Kyle's) baby shower.
But those boys worked HARD. This isn't a picture of them working; it's just a recent one of Howard, his wife Cheryl and his daughter Aleksey that I like and one I stole from Micajah's facebook page . I don't know many Hoosiers who can carry off a cowboy hat. Howard does. Kyle might be able to.
Here's a shot of Micajah stolen from Facebook from the shower. Cheryl and Aleksey were responsible for the decor. Howard was enlisted for the high art:
Alison insisted on riding with Howard on the trips to and fro -- so another conquest for him there. I got to spend some time with Kyle, who I'd always liked but now totally see why Micajah is head over heels for him. I'm going to solidify my friendship with both of them by promising to never ask them to help me move. But if you need a guy to move a freezer, I know a couple...
For family, they apparently work for beer and food. I don't know what they'd charge strangers.
Coming home, Ali and I were chatting about the day and she was telling me how much fun she'd had with Howard. Their trips in the car were apparently more fun than capturing ladybugs that had come to love part of the house.
"I like our family," she said, following it up with an assertion that she didn't think she could actually live in the country with no pizza delivery and sketchy wifi.
I like them too.