We’d been planning to go see our Grandson, his wife and our great-grandson for some time, but each time a date was set, something came up! We weren’t going to let anything stop us this time; we were going to go, “Come Hell or Highwater,” as my father used to say.
Bags were packed, box full of stuff for Phillip and his parents and we were ready to go . . . in the rain . . . (Unplanned event #1) at 4AM on Thursday. . . . with directions printed from Mapquest. (Mistake #1) We bowed our heads, said a prayer for a safe and fun trip, as we usually do, and hit the road, with Linda at the wheel and Jim in charge of the Mapquest document.
Driving in the dark and rain thru York, PA into Maryland, we didn’t need the directions since this is a trip we’ve made often. As we neared Washington D.C. there were several Highway changes and the Mapquest was not clear as to what lane to be in. With traffic picking up and rain beginning to come down harder, we somehow got on an EZ Pass section of highway . . . not too bad, because you can always pay for that . . . bad, because it was heading west to Dulles Airport, not south towards North Carolina!
We got off at the DWI Airport exit, and it was free, (Blessing #1) got directions on getting back where we belonged and got back on the EZ Pass Highway, not stopping at the unmanned toll booth, (Mistake #2) and not realizing it until we came to a manned toll both! He gave me a slip of paper and told me to call them within two working days and it would cost me $6. If I didn’t call, it would cost me a whole lot more!
We continued on the trip, finding the right highway, battled the rain and traffic and passed from Maryland into Virginia. With the rain still falling, but the traffic thinning, we began to relax and decided to stop at McDonalds for a quick drive-thru bite to eat and continued on our way. . . Until! . . . Linda went to look for something in her purse.
The only problem was (unplanned event #2) it was not in the car! . . . and Linda knew exactly where it was! ON THE FRONT PORCH, RIGHT WHERE SHE PUT IT WHEN SHE LOCKED THE FRONT DOOR! (Mistake #3) At this point we’d been on the road for 5 hours, been lost once, driven in a heavy rain storm and turning around was not an option! Several Phone calls, text messages and Facebook messages later, one neighbor went across the street to check and found it and took it to their home, and another friend picked it up from them and overnighted it to us. (Blessing #2; Mistake #4)
We finally crossed the border into North Carolina, and anyone who has ever driven to the coast of this large state, knows our journey wasn’t even close to over! The good part? The landscape and the photo ops! The bad part? The landscape and photo ops are all on 2 lane roads that wind thru the state!
Finally arriving at our destination was the highlight of our day! We could stand but it took us a few minutes before we could walk because our legs were so stiff! Finally we saw who we had come to see! (blessing #3) The happiest little boy . . . and the busiest little boy! . . . and I don’t think he’s ever met a stranger!
He took to his Daddy’s “Pa” right off the bat, (blessing #4) and they played horsey, just as his father had done so many years ago, and he showed off all his skills with his toys, while his doggies, Gunner and Target, would watch over him or compete with him, wanting Jim to throw a ball or play tug-of-war with another toy!
The big grin on his face, and abandonment of his Pa when his father walked in the door told the story! (blessing #5) This kid loves his Daddy, more than his Pa, more than his dogs, and probably (insert unhappy face here) more than his great grandma! Nah! He should love his Mama and Daddy more than anybody! We’ll give him that!
Stephanie and Grandma went to pick up the take-out Chinese Dinner we had ordered and Pa was amazed at how good it was and how cheap it was (blessing #6) After supper came a bath and an early bedtime for the weary travelers and youngster. It was a long day for two of us and we still had two full days to go!
Somebody was up bright and early and we joined him and his Daddy while Mommy slept in after a night spent with a teething baby.
He was his usual happy self and a joy to watch having fun with his various toys, dogs and showing off what he could do.
This was a stay at home day to play, read, watch a few movies and visit. His great-grandparents had brought him a set of Toddler Musical Instruments and the one he was playing for his Pa was his favorite.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, relaxing and enjoying those we came to see.
Linda’s purse was delivered via UPS Overnight Service in the afternoon as expected. (Blessing #7, Lesson #1) It was a blessing that I had my wallet and credit cards, but a Lesson learned since it cost over $80 dollars! That’s 80 as in ~
E – I – G – H – T – Y * * * D – O – L – L – A – R – S !!!
The Lesson learned is next time I make a check list before the trip and make sure I have everything. If I don’t have it . . . make do! (Unless it’s a purse full of credit cards sitting on the front porch, and in that case, have neighbor pick it and keep it until I get home!)
Stephanie made some awesome Fajitas, which Phillip throughly enjoyed as did the rest of us . . .maybe he enjoyed them more, hmmm?
Today was the Day! The day Phillip would go see Santa for the first time! He wasn’t nearly as excited as we were! He just knew he was going somewhere. Meanwhile, there were those toys! . . . and believe it or not, he turns them upside down, sideways and any other way they go and examines what each part does. He is a very curious child, a kid after his great-grandma’s heart! (and especially that love of books he has!)
It was finally time to start getting ready to see Santa! and that meant Phillip’s favorite activity! a Bath!! The bathroom door opens, he hears running water and he makes time getting to the bathroom! Whoo Hoo! a bath!! Water! Toys!
But this silly Great-Grandma remembers when it took three people to give somebody a whole lot smaller than this guy a bath!
. . . Then the fun begins! Getting the center of attention ready to go see Santa!
Phillip’s dressed and now it’s Mommy’s turn to get dressed. Meanwhile Phillip and Daddy share father/son time, quietly.
Family all loaded in the Murano we head to the Base where Santa awaits. Camera’s in everybody’s hand except mine (mistake #5) which was sitting in front of my computer on my desk at home. (Thank goodness, I at least remembered my phone with which to record the ocassion!)
After the Santa Visit and a short trip to the Commisary, we headed to a Mongolian BBQ establishment for a great dinner! We all ate the required as much as we can, because we can, including Phillip, before heading home.
Since we wanted to get out early and miss a lot of traffic (HA! HA!) we organized our belongings after Phillip was in bed and Stephanie and Mike were showing signs of fatigue and hit the sack!
Day Four: Final Travel Day
We left early, hugged Mike, thanked him profusely for their hospitality and hit the road, winding once again through the back roads of North Carolina towards the interstate and wishing we could have stayed longer!
The final picture of Phillip came via text with the message “. . . He woke up this morning and kept crawling to the guest bedroom door very confused where Grandma and Grandpa went. . . .”
Trip home long (but found gas at $1.68 a gallon) (blessing #8) Hit traffic around Washington/Baltimore where the Ravens game had just hit the 95 with all the upset fans because the Ravens lost, but no rain this time!
Happy to see home, but missed our family. Our Christmas present to ourselves, 2015!