Tag Archives: Jeremy

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

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It was wonderful to get away!

I had good visits with two of my sisters, both of my daughters and three of my grandchildren…plus quality time with Lincoln Phillip, my tiny new great-grandson.

I waited at the airport on Beaver Island for more than four hours with a driving snowstorm going on outside, before finally making my way to Charlevoix. The flight was good, Charlevoix was clear, and the four hour drive was uneventful. That was Tuesday.

On Thursday I met up with the Clark family: my daughter, Kate; her husband, Jeremy; their two youngest children, Madeline and Tommy. They would be my traveling companions for the next several days. We were headed for Connecticut to visit with Kate’s oldest son, Michael, and his little family.

I hadn’t seen Michael in a couple years. I had not yet met his girlfriend, Samantha. They had recently added a new family member, that we were all excited to meet.

The drive was long, but good. There was plenty to see (except in Ohio, of course) and lots to talk about. Kate and I had each brought stories to read aloud. She brought a short story collection by Steven King; I brought essays by Evan S. Connell. We played travel games; we napped.

Jeremy is a good driver. He doesn’t get nervous, or angry, or impatient. He can change lanes quickly and safely when needed, and he doesn’t mind if we miss an exit and have to backtrack. He doesn’t get agitated when a passenger (me) audibly sucks in her breath or says, “Oh, shit!!” or “Yikes!” or “Look out!” He doesn’t mind stopping for rest rooms or hunger. He doesn’t seem to mind driving for hours on end through pouring rain.

Kate is a fantastic navigator. She was in charge of the map, directing the driver. She had the trip plotted out ahead of time. Kate helped us avoid areas that were costly or that would slow us down, but she also was on the lookout for areas of interest that we might want to see. She could tell us how far we’d gone, how far yet to go and what our elevation was at any given time. When we crossed a bridge, she’d tell us the body of water. When we came to a new state sign, we cheered.

We had a lovely visit with my grandson and his family (I’ll devote a separate post to that).

We took a slightly different route back to Michigan, to change the view. We made a couple detours and stops to enrich the experience.

I spent Monday night back at my sister Brenda’s house, and drove back to Charlevoix Tuesday. I caught the last flight of the day, went to pick up my little dog and came home.

Happy to get away…so glad to be home!

 

Traveling

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Yesterday was crazy.

My list was long and diverse.

I had to “copy and paste” several blog entries to Wordpad, and mail them to myself so that I could print them out when I was in town (I no longer have a printer). Then I had to take them to the Community Center to read them into a microphone, to be broadcast on our little radio station (WVBI…”the voice of Beaver Island,” found on Beaver Island at 100.1 FM, and worldwide at http://www.wvbi.net). My appointment was at noon.

By two o’clock, I had to be at the County garage, to catch up with the head of our road crew. I interviewed him for the news magazine, and wanted to give him the chance to correct any fallacies in the article before we go to press.

I had laundry to finish: dark clothes in the dryer to be folded; towels to be dried.

Clean house, keeping in mind that whatever I neglect will be there, a black mark on my happy homecoming, when I get back next week.

Because, yes, I am traveling. I’m going to Connecticut, to introduce myself to my tiny new great-grandson, Lincoln, to see the parents: my oldest grandson, Michael, and his love, Samantha. Grandchildren Madeline and Tommy will be there for good company on the long drive. My daughter Kate and her husband Jeremy will share the driving, so I don’t have to worry about that.

Good thing, as I had enough to worry about!

I had to pack – secretly, so the little dog wouldn’t notice – clothes for this variable weather (which means layers!) that would be suitable for out to dinner or other excursions, comfortable for travel, plentiful enough so I won’t have to consider laundry and compact enough to fit into one small suitcase. Then, of course, there are the other rules for clothing: nothing binding; doesn’t make me look fat, or short; doesn’t make me look old trying to look youthful…but doesn’t look like grandmother clothes. Finally, everything must match, or at least coordinate, so that I can make last minute variations to planned outfits.

Then there is everything else that needs to come with me. Credit cards (check balances beforehand!), books, notebook, camera, sketchpad. Appropriate writing instruments. Yarn and crochet hooks, because I am at the last possible moment finishing a gift for the new baby. Medicine. Make-up. A special reminder to remember tweezers and the small magnifying mirror, as it is discouraging to have that annoying chin whisker make an appearance when I am hundreds of miles from home.

I had to spend time with sweet Rosa Parks, who will (my heart breaks) spend the next seven days in the doggie kennel. I had to give her lots of loving attention, without being so over-the-top that she’d know something was going on. Because I cannot tolerate those sad eyes, that reproachful stare…

I had to schedule my flight and call my sister with an approximate time of arrival. I’ll have an overnight at her house before we head out.

I had to take time to see Aunt Katie, to bring her up to date on my travel itinerary, get the car keys and last minute instructions.

I had to figure out my blog. At this time, I am toggling between two computers. The archaic one, that is about to become obsolete, is the one I understand. I can easily download pictures onto it, I know how to hook the scanner to it, and I can predict it’s behavior. The new one, which I’m sure is capable of doing everything the other one does, is still alien to me. I don’t know how to download photos from my camera; I’m not sure how it works with the scanner; the keys often seem to be a little bit off to the left. Foolish to pack two computers, when even one may not fit in the car for the trip.

I worried I wouldn’t find opportunity to write.  Do I want to pull away from rare enough time with loved ones to get my daily blog published? Do I want to shelve it for a week? The answer to both is NO! One solution I thought of was writing a weeks worth of blogs before I left. That might have been workable if I’d thought of it before my last – too busy already – day at home. So, I’m going to compromise.

First, I am putting the address series on hold until I get back. We’ll just pause, at Corner #16, with no great drama, until I’m back home. I loaded a bunch of photos to the WordPress site, so I’ll have access to them when I’m away. I am cutting corners: while I’m traveling, these 500-words-a-day are not going to happen. But I’ll still check in with a daily post.

So, that’s how yesterday went, full of worry and preparation.

Today, I’m off!

 

Out and About

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My sister Brenda and her husband Keith have a lovely, comfortable house. They live on a little lake and enjoy stunning views year ’round. Last summer we watched an eagle, perched on top of a pole with wings half spread, as he watched over the water. This time of year, we see geese gathering on the lake. Deer wander though the yard almost every day. Beautiful!

The photo I snapped, from the warmth and safety of the kitchen, is not a good illustration of any of that. It does, however, show the amount of snowfall we got, in one day. Lots!

Lots of snow on the roads, turning to dirty slush  as cars made their way through it.

Lots of snow in the driveway, as Keith rightly figured he’d might as well wait until the road was cleared, before he cleared the drive.

Lots of heavy snow on the van I drove, parked in the turn-around space where it had been sitting since I’d arrived Friday evening.

Most days I’d be content to just stay inside, pour another cup of coffee, read a book, chat with my sister.

Yesterday, I had different plans.

My daughter, Kate, has recently moved back to Michigan, from South Carolina. She and her husband bought a house (with some land, a garage, a beautiful stone-bordered pond, a red barn, mature trees, fenced garden, perennial beds…)and have been working intensely on it. Old wiring had to be upgraded; some walls had to be removed; floors and fixtures needed to be replaced. They worked at it while staying elsewhere until it was at a stage where they could move in. They still have plenty to do, but are getting settled, and are happy to be home.

Kate and Jeremy are both artists in a wide range of media. Both have good, creative ideas for home improvements; both are hard-working and capable enough to implement their plans themselves. I was anxious to see what they’d accomplished.

Beaver Island is pretty remote, expensive to travel to and from. Even when my daughters are both in Michigan, I’m fortunate if I see them two or three times a year. When Kate and her family were in South Carolina, it was even harder to get together. I hadn’t seen them since last summer, and wasn’t going to let an opportunity go by – to catch up with the adults, to hug my grandchildren – now that they are so much closer.

The first thing I did was to dig out the van. I started with a long-handled shop broom, finished with ice scrapers and windshield wipers.

Though I over-packed, not knowing what I’d want for various holidays and activities, I under-packed when it came to the weather. No rain gear. No winter coat. No boots. In November! What was I thinking?

I managed it though, and got out on the road.

Next, I took a short drive, to see if the roads were slippery, and if they were being cleared.

Then, when a drive seemed possible, I contacted Kate, to make sure she’d be home and to get directions.

I was on my way!

It was a pretty drive, north on M24 toward Caro, then east on Clifford Road. I had forgotten how beautiful that area of lower Michigan is, with rolling hills and farm fields bordered by evergreens. The roads were clear the whole way. Kate’s directions were perfect, and I found them with no problems.

I could write pages about how wonderful it was to see them all. They  welcomed me warmly. Kate and Jeremy generously shared their art and handiwork, the processes and inspiration.  Madeline and Tommy continue to amaze me with their kindness and humor.

I could devote several more pages to the beautiful views outside their home, and all of the inspiring, creative ideas they’ve employed inside.

I will, maybe, another day. Today, I’m happy simply to report that I did get out, in this wintry weather, for a wonderful visit with my daughter and her family.