Hope everyone had a nice father's day, if applicable.
McRed slept in, and played games later on. He also had a free day when I was in Oregon. The kids drove me nuts.
The kids and I are back from Oregon. Here is our trip in brief:
Day one: Visited Mt. St. Helens, which consisted of one of the adults trying to pry the toddlers away from the running train display. It was a model train that went in and out of a model mountain and well, anyhow, it's not like any of us expected the train model to be there. There were fits. We went to the crater, which is now all slowly growing back. We saw the volcano explosion video. The boys wanted to watch it again. Big booms impress them. I dragged Drama to the discovery room where we looked at bark, skinned animals (real skinned animals... poor bambi) and bugs. The only thing that got the boys away from the train? A stuffed bear.... for a brief interlude. Nice bear, nice. One thing I don't understand, I mean, I say I want to live on a mountain, but not literally. Can you imagine the bad connections they must get? And what DO they do? I don't understand why there were houses on the mountain... all alone... waiting for what? Another eruption?
Day two: We visited an abbey. Now, I was expecting something more akin to the English abbeys' I loved so much in England. Okay, this one was only 100 years old and looked way too modern for my sense of what an abbey should be, but being in England spoiled me in the abbey-expectation crap. So what was in it? A museum. In the museum? A collection of STUFFED ANIMALS as in LIVE stuffed not cute cuddly stuffed in various forms of attack. There was a bear about to rip out an elk's neck, a polar bear and a seal, a mountain cat taking down a bird of prey, and then, the kicker, two deformed animals... one was a deer or something with one head, two bodies and two extra legs on top... the other a calf with two legs coming out from under its belly. Drama was creeped out, so wasn't I. I think we all were. I don't think any of us expected to see nature frozen in action. Drama wanted to leave. I mean, a museum of taxidermy animals what on earth did that have to do with religion, monks, an abbey and Catholocism? Seriously creepy.
Day three: the best day. We did nothing til that evening. My sister and I got my hair cut, it is VERY Cute and Short but CUTE. We snuck off for a Starbucks. My sister got an emergency message that Lucky Jeans were on sale for $60 and she for a moment, entertained the notion of making a mad dash to downtown Portland for jeans, and then resigned herself to the fact she was going to buy a pair later at higher prices. No jeans are THAT good. Though the girl at the counter at my gym would disagree. She owns a closetful, which, she told me, has directly contributed to her debt, but she insists they are worth it, if only they fit her...
The best part of Day 3: Later that night, my brother-in-law's brother lives on a boat, and we went and had dinner on the boat. We took all the kids with their life jackets. This guy is a real gem. He tried to dig up life jackets for us. He let us all in his boat. He took us all for a ride up the Portland river and it was great because the boys were sitting outside and boy would they not let anyone take them inside. No, they were on a boat ride, as they kept repeating over and over and over. They also saw a helicopter which was great. They thought it was Harold. Anyone familiar with Portland knows there are a bunch of bridges crossing the river. We went under the bridges to the glee of the twins. Turbo and Bear kept saying 'under bridge' over and over, until... something MAGICAL happened... we came to a bridge that looked a little to low... Bear kept pointing and yelling 'Fit. Fit.' because that's his way of saying it won't fit, make it fit. Uncle Boat as we'll call him, radioed the bridge and they RAISED THE BRIDGE... OOOOH. What did we hear? BRIDGE UP BRIDGE UP and then when it went down BRIDGE DOWN BRIDGE DOWN. This was the language on the boat:
Under bridge. water. Ducks. boat ride. BABY BABY DUCKS. Bridge up oooh. Bridge down. Under bridge. Bye bye bridge. Water. Boat ride. Sit Grandaddy Sit outside."
On the way back, just when their magical trip up the river couldn't get any better, something even MORE magical happened. Uncle Boat radioed to get the bridge up. They said, (gasp) No. There was, get this, a TRAIN COMING. NO WAY DUDE. Uncle Boat, not understanding the ramification of trains on these two boys turned the boat around so they could see the train coming. Boy, they heard it.
TRAIN COMING. BRIDGE DOWN. TRAIN COMING. Then they saw it. YELLOW TRAIN BILL BILL. ANNABELLE SEE ANNABELLE (they thought the trolleys on the upper level was Annabelle) TRAIN COMING. SEE. LOOK LOOK TRAIN. TRAIN ON BRIDGE. CHOO CHOO. Oh man it was a long train. So the new language was "Choo choo. choo chooo. train. on bridge. bridge up. bridge down.choo choo. BOAT. BIG BIG BOAT. Under bridge. Water. Train. Bye bye train." So this went on for the whole river ride. When we went back, Uncle Boat let Bear blow the boat horn, which unfortunately for him, sounded like a train. They made Uncle Boat turn the lights on and off inside. Turbo and Bear made him play with the wipers and washers repeatedly. Uncle Boat has no children. He's great with them. His girlfriend was super. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have eaten. Sadly, she didn't get to eat. She loves kids though, apparently they were more fun than dinner. Uncle Boat carried one of the boys, I believe it was Turbo. He kept repeating the same phrase over and over, sadly, ever so sadly, "Bye bye boat bye bye boat bye bye boat." Their Uncle, who put them to bed every night, said he lifted his head one time, looked at him, said ever so softly, "Bye bye boat" and fell soundly asleep.
As for Uncle Boat? He and his girlfriend, scarred from the jubilent enthusiasm of two year olds who just witnessed a train crossing a bridge that went up and down from the close-up vantage of a boat on the water right in front of said bridge, went and got drunk. He informed me he wouldn't bother making a tape of what his boat would sound like tonight, he just said, listen to the silence... ha ha ha.
As for my mother, she perks up in the afternoons and evenings. She became all talkative and chatty. Once, I left the kitchen and she followed me, like she used to do, because she wanted to keep talking. I just called her tonight where she's visiting her sister, and she's just as perky and chatty and happy. I hope this is what she needed to help her sort of through the icky Indiania life she hates so much. I hope she improves. I hope there was enough joy to sort of get her through. She was truly happy. Still anxious, shaky and worried, but very happy. My dad? Nothing would make that man happier than living near some family. He was not meant to have a life without people. He would be happy here too, and said so. He has a dream, but we don't know if he can do it. But it's something. He wants to move out here when he retires. I hope so. I am torn between being optimistic and pessimistic. I want to be a realist, but in this situation, reality is cloaked for some reason. There is no accurate picture of my mother's true state, because she was on vacation and seeing her daughters and grandchildren so she was at her happiest and best, same with my father. In Indiania, she's at her worst. Once on the trip my dad says this is her last trip, it's too much. Then he said, maybe not, maybe she can come again. We don't know. It changes day to day. As for the doctors, they say she's healthy and fine, and treat things as they go. So who knows. It's hard. So I just enjoyed the week with her and my dad. Because it was a good week.