A Surprise Visitor

Monday evening, Rich was talking on the phone with a friend and Bonnie texted me to ask “what are you doing tonight?” Prior to this, Sarah had told me that Emery flew by herself to Dallas to visit with her cousins on her dad’s side and I said I had heard nothing about this!

Anyway, I said we had no plans, what’s up? Bonnie said Emery’s flight back home had been delayed till 10:30 that night and her aunt and uncle needed to get back to Grapevine, where they live–could we get Emery from them and take her back to the airport later? I said sure, and then the more we talked, we decided that the odds were good the later flight would also be postponed or cancelled so Emery might as well spend the night with us and go home the next day.

I texted with her Aunt Hannah and we met at a Starbucks to get Emery. What a fun surprise! We had fun hanging out with her last night, caught up on our “Jeopardy” episodes we’d recorded while in Tyler, and watched “School of Rock,” which she loved.

This morning, Grandpa made pancakes and Emery went to Center of Hope with me and helped with turning in food orders, had two pieces of chocolate cake, then we came home a little early since it was not super busy today. She wanted to cook something with Grandpa for lunch so they decided on pasta with homemade Alfredo sauce, which turned out really well and we all enjoyed our lunch. After awhile I had to take her back to the airport, which ended up being a bit of a complicated mess but we made it through! First off, we are used to dropping people at the curb but I needed to go in with her and it took forever to find a parking spot. Then we had to walk a bit to get to the terminal. I was starting to get a little antsy about our time frame but trying not to overreact. Went to a kiosk to print out her boarding pass and it said “invalid.” I tried another kiosk with the same result. Went to ask a staff person what to do and he said we had to get in the “regular” line at the ticket counter, which was pretty long. Finally got to an agent and explained that Emery was flying unaccompanied and her mom had told me that I could get a pass to go with her through security and wait for her to board. The woman said yes, that was true but when she looked me up, I was not on the approved list, just David’s sister and mother. Thankfully the agent was really nice and added me in based on my driver’s license info. This took awhile. I asked about the time frame and she said luckily Emery’s flight was delayed about 2o minutes. ha

She gave Emery a little pouch on a string to wear around her neck with all of her info in it and printed me out a pass to get through security. She went over all the rules, like I had to check in with the gate agent when we got to Emery’s gate, stay with Emery till she boarded and then I could not leave until I was told by the gate agent that the plane was in the air. Also that the receiving parent in Amarillo had to be there 45 minutes early with an ID. The whole flight is only about 45 minutes. 🙂

Then the line in security was pretty long but we got through that and found the gate. There was no gate agent but one of the flight attendants was standing there so I talked with him and he said the plane wasn’t even there yet but we did need to check in with the gate agent when she got there. We went to get Emery a few snacks and came back; by then the plane had arrived and we checked in with the gate agent who looked at all of Emery’s paperwork and said she would take her to the plane first when they started boarding. We still had to hang out for awhile longer and then finally the agent came to get her and we said our goodbyes. I can hardly believe she was flying by herself and was very calm and mature about it!

I had to wait about 30 more minutes till the plane was in the air and then headed home, with a stop at the Apple Store to get a new charger for my laptop because I apparently left the only one I had at Sarah’s, along with my car keys! Apple was super busy and the “genius” was annoyed with me but I got what I needed and finally got back home around 6 PM after leaving before 2.

Goodbye for now, Durhams!

Sarah and Miles were not going to get home till later Sunday night and Sarah texted me a weather report that heavy rain, high winds, hail and possible tornadoes were expected in Dallas around the time we would have been driving back. We decided Rich would drive home after dinner to beat the storm and be there with the cats, plus he had a doctor’s appointment on Monday. Then Sarah would drive me halfway to meet him the next morning.

So he left and I finished straightening up the house, folded laundry, got the kids to bathe and get ready for bed and for school the next day. Jack was asleep when the parents arrived but the other two were still up and were really happy to see them! Sarah and Miles had a wonderful relaxing stay in Mexico and made it home around 9:30. We chatted a bit and then I talked with Rich who said the storm was not that bad, though our pool umbrella had somehow flown out of the hole in the table and was on the ground.

The next morning I walked Jack to school while Miles took Beck and Sarah took Elle. Then Sarah and I met Rich at our favorite halfway point, Duke’s, which has home made fried pies and brownies to tempt us any time we stop in.

Another fun visit and more memories made with the grandkids! Jack and I worked very hard on his spelling words all week and when he came home Friday he was convinced he’d made 100 on his test. Unfortunately he didn’t get the test back while I was there so I am waiting to hear! I am slightly competitive about those sorts of things! 🙂

Putt-Putt Golf

This is becoming one of our traditions in Tyler. We were going to go in the AM before it got hot but I thought to look up the hours since it was Sunday and sure enough, they did not open till 1 PM. By the time we got there, it was already in the 80s. The kids wanted to play both courses so we got a family pass and began on course #2 since there were other people starting course #1. Almost immediately the kids began bickering about who would go first and who moved their ball and who wanted a “do-over,” and so on. There was a family behind us and the mom kept laughing in a sympathetic way and rolling her eyes at me. I finally told the kids that we could just go on home if we weren’t going to be happy and have fun. LOL

Meanwhile Beck got a hole in one and that cheered him up, only to have Jack get a hole in one right behind him. I think that irritated Elle because she didn’t get one. We carried on and got to hole #9, which I thought was the last one, and I was admittedly happy about it. Come to find out, no, each course was 18 holes–I thought it was 9 and 9. So we took a break and got some cherry-limeades while sitting on a picnic table under an umbrella. (Later Beck said they were the best cherry limeades he’d ever had…just in case you ever go to Tyler and want one). After a rest and a drink, everyone was in better spirits and we carried on, though getting hotter and sweatier by the minute. Jack was on fire and got three more holes in one, much to everyone’s shock and amazement. 🙂

In the end, Grandpa won, as usual, with Elle right behind him, the boys tied in the middle and Gigi, also as usual, pulling up the rear in the scoring department. 🙂

Chill Saturday

Everyone was pretty tired today! Elle got home around noon and Beck’s friend left soon after. We lounged around, then Rich, Elle and I put together a cat condo for Kitty. It came in the mail a couple of days ago and I intended to leave it for Miles. LOL But Elle wanted to do it and it ended up being easier than it looked, despite a couple of wrong turns. Kitty seemed interested and we’re hoping she’ll like it better than the furniture for her scratching needs. 🙂 Later we went out for pizza, followed by a rousing game of Apples to Apples, then an early bedtime.

A Full Friday

Rich got up early to get donuts, then everyone was off to school. Please note the steep hill I have to climb on the way home from walking Jack to and from his school every day. Perhaps it is counteracting the donuts a tiny bit.

Next we did some chores and then went back downtown to have lunch at Don Juan’s on the square. It was quite colorful and the fajitas were great! As we were walking back to the car, I saw three guys holding signs across the street. Realizing they were signs for peace, I told Rich “Oh my gosh, I have found my people in Tyler! I have to go talk to them!” Rich is more reticent than I am about speaking with strangers so he said he’d wait for me. LOL I ran across the street and I am sure they were wondering if I was friend or foe before I started gushing, “I’m so glad to see you here–I told my husband you are my people and I had to come talk with you!” They all smiled and one guy asked me if I lived in Tyler; I said no, we are here babysitting grandkids and live in Dallas. We all introduced ourselves and I asked if they were part of an organization locally–they said no, just something they do on their own. None of them were former military although one guy said his dad was in the Army and told him right away that Vietnam was a mistake going in. They have stood on this corner every Friday at noon since 2007! They said they don’t really get any hassles in Tyler and a cop drove by as we were chatting so I asked what about the police. They said no, they have always been supportive and helpful. Nice to hear! So, meet Dan, Paul and Rick–warriors for peace in conservative East Texas!

Near where we’d parked, we saw the Tyler Art Alley so we had to walk through and take pix. I loved all of the murals. Which are your favorites?

Jack had been working hard on his spelling words all week so I was anxious to see how he did on his test. When I picked him up, he said he was “pretty sure” he got 100. LOL Unfortunately he didn’t get the test back yet so we are still in suspense. He told me he’d call me Monday and let me know. 🙂 After school Elle went home with a friend to spend the night and Beck’s friend E came back again to spend the night with us. After dinner we went to Andy’s downtown to have some ice cream, then everyone stayed up way too late. Let the weekend begin!

More Tyler Fun

Last night Elle and Rich made orange chicken and fried rice. Elle enjoys cooking with Grandpa and is one of our more adventurous eaters! Dinner was delicious and Beck’s friend Elliott joined us.

Another 6:30 AM morning today and everyone got off to school on time, whew. Rich had made sticky buns from scratch last night but he wasn’t too thrilled with the way they turned out. However, the rest of us thought they were pretty darned good, except Elle who has braces and said they were too sticky. 🙂

Rich drove Beck, Elle got picked up, and I walked Jack to his school. Today he didn’t want me to come in and said goodbye on the sidewalk, then I headed back up the very steep hill to their house! Getting a small amount of exercise at least! Did some housework and laundry and then Rich and I continued our “vacation attitude” by eating lunch at The Grove, a place Sarah had taken me once before that has outdoor dining. I had an excellent tomato basil soup and fancy grilled cheese sandwich and enjoyed sitting in the sunshine. Rich remarked that we were a bit under-dressed as we watched all the fabulously put together “ladies that lunch” file in. Oh well, these people will never see us again, right?!

The schedule was full today as Beck stayed after school for rehearsal for a play he’s in, and Elle stayed after for volleyball since she is the team manager while recuperating from foot surgery. Meanwhile I picked Jack up at school and we came back to do homework, practice spelling words, read, eat something, and get ready for baseball. Rich and I took him to his game while the other two kids had rides home from their activities. Jack did great, got two hits and his team won the game. By the time we got home, it was 7:15 so we ordered some burgers, gave him a quick bath, finished homework, practiced again for the spelling test tomorrow and read more books that have to be turned in on Friday. OMG, I had forgotten how stressful it can be when your kids have too many things to do at once! And I am competitive enough that I want him to get 100 on his spelling test and not have a bad grade on my watch. LOL

One more early morning tomorrow and then we can chill out till Mom and Dad get home on Sunday night.

Acting the Tourist in Tyler

Rich and I went downtown to wander around and have some lunch at Culture ETX which was recommended by Sarah and Miles. I had the warm kale salad and Rich had blackened fish tacos. Both pretty good, though I have had better at home. This is the blessing and the curse of being married to a chef. 🙂

Miles is refurbishing an old hotel downtown so we got to walk past it and glance at it from the outside but didn’t want to disturb the workmen that were hauling things in. It’s gonna be really nice when it’s done! I know you can’t tell much here but we didn’t want to get in the way of the people doing the work.

Then we walked around the square to see what we could see before heading to the grocery store for dinner items. Elle is going to help Rich make orange chicken tonight.

At 3:00 I went to get Jack, dropped him off at home with Grandpa and then went to get Elle. Beck gets home later and has a ride so we will see him shortly. First full day in the books and we did fine with all the drop offs and pick ups so I feel like it’s a success! And I never took a nap but Grandpa did. haha

20 Years??!!

We’re in Tyler for a few days babysitting Sarah and Miles’ three kids while they are off on a trip to celebrate 20 years of marriage. Yes, 20! I am not sure how I have a kid who has been married 20 years. And since I am on marriage #2, she’s been married longer than I have (this time). LOL

Last night we played some games after dinner and got everyone down for bed. The house is being remodeled so most of the bedrooms are out of commission–Jack has been sleeping on a couch in Sarah and Miles’ room, Beck has been sleeping in Jack’s room, and Elle has been sleeping on the living room couch. We started out with Jack with us in Sarah’s room, then one of the dogs and the kitty joined us, and eventually Beck came in, too. He couldn’t sleep so he and Rich watched the video of Rich’s cataract surgery. How’s that for late night fun?

Around 5 AM, Jack got in bed with us and the kitty and after awhile I switched with him and got on the couch. Needless to say, no one slept great and when the alarm went off at 6:30 this morning, I was very tempted to stay in bed. BUT that was not an option with three kids needing to get to three different schools on time. Elle loves it when we are here because we get up early and they don’t have to rush around–she likes to gripe about her parents sleeping too late. LOL

Thankfully they are all independent and just needed a few reminders to be ready to go. Rich took Beck to his school, Elle got picked up by a friend, and I walked Jack to his school a few blocks away. Got to go in and meet his teacher, who told me what a sweet boy he is (which we know very well)!

The water is off while the remodelers work on plumbing, Rich has gone back to sleep, and I am catching up on a few things. We may go look around Tyler a bit since we have never really explored much when we’ve been here, and get some lunch while we’re out. It’s like a mini vacay! 🙂 Well, except for the part about taking care of three kids, two dogs and a cat. 🙂

Our Little Backyard Oasis

I have been irritated with our backyard and pool area forever. Although we need updating and remodeling inside the house, I have been stuck on making the backyard a prettier and more inviting place since the kids spend so much time here in the summer. I finally called to get our decking replaced months ago; a guy came out and gave us a reasonable estimate, and then told us it would be 7-9 weeks before they could start. So much for having it done for this summer but at least it will be nice next year, right? As with most things that I undertake, the decking did not turn out exactly as I had imagined, but it is still much better than the broken, chipped concrete we had before. A few months ago we bought a dining table and chairs so people could eat by the pool without holding their food on their laps or setting it on the end tables in the seating area. Yesterday we put all the furniture and plants back on the deck and I am pretty happy with the way it looks. Of course my creative cropping is keeping out the horrible bamboo on the side, which still needs dealing with. I tried to find a landscaper to help us “reimagine” the backyard but no luck so far. Everyone is booked up these days! BUT I will be happy and thankful for this new and improved spot. Oh yeah, I still have some cute lights to hang on the fence. 🙂