Thursday, July 10, 2008

We're back!

We're finally back from two weeks of travel to various grandmas, grandpas, aunties, uncles, and one solitary cousin at various undisclosed locations in Washington and British Columbia. Thanks to all our hosts! In recollection, it's now a blur of ferry terminals, beaches, purple starfish, tiramisu gelato, variously sized live crabs, a nearly missed bus (ten minutes early!), and excellent breakfasts, but here are some events that stand out:
  • My husband told D that he wanted to show D something pretty. "Is it a vulture?" D asked hopefully.
  • The kids like the concept of touch tanks but don't really want to touch the critters. They preferred to sift sand.
  • D was a fantastic potty trainee on the road.
  • Grandpa took me out in the pickup to the barnyard twice and I practiced driving at length for the first time since I was probably 10 or 11 years old and driving an enormous hay truck (about ten years back a neighbor briefly and unexpectedly handed me the steering wheel of his pickup and I bumped into his woodpile). Grandpa introduced reverse pretty quickly, and I really struggled with the concept, but I got somewhat more comfortable by the end of the second outing. I spent a lot of time backing up on a fiendishly curving bit of lane in the field, fighting to stay on the tracks and avoid the ruins of the old milking shed and unsure exactly what was going to happen if I turned the wheel left or right. At some point, Grandpa decided that I'd do better backing up if we took out his newish Kubota tractor, which would offer me the ability to see what the rear tires were doing. That was helpful.
  • D says that a house is for keeping your toys "from blowing away." D is a somewhat anxious child.
  • A (in my limited experience) unique feature of far western Washington is the small non-chain espresso shack, often drive-through.
  • Me: Pee in the potty... D:...not on the floor!
  • My husband asked C what half of 86 is. She said 43.
  • I took the kids a couple times to my home town's excellent (and only) public playground. One of the times, D had a near faceplant in the gravel. A probably 12-year-old boy (very capable and well provisioned with Cheetos and vitamin water) who was there chaperoning a little sister told me seriously "He's a boy. He'll get over it."
  • D was intrigued by the "fuzzy toilets" (i.e. encased in carpet covers) he encountered on the road, and wants us to have one.
  • The Filipino priest at my home town parish wore beautiful contemporary red and gold brocade vestments with velvet trim. They were a delightful change from the standard thawed-out-with-Austen-Powers vestments one usually sees. The parish is undergoing Latinization, under the pressure of Central American immigration, and there is now an Immaculate Heart clock in the vestibule.
  • My husband asked D if his elephants liked C's dragon. No, said D, because the dragon is pretend.
  • C has been pressing D for a while to say that she is his best friend. He finally said it on the trip and obviously meant it.
  • Here's the list of our luggage on the ferry to Canada: large tippy "rolling" suitcase, medium rolling suitcase, disintegrating backpack, new backback (thanks mom and dad!), C's booster seat, D's car seat, C's pink rolling suitcase, one Maclaren Volo, one Dell laptop case, one binocular case (for husband's stargazing).
  • I tried the Treo on the road for the first time. It's great for passive internet on the road, but I didn't want to post anything written with two thumbs.
  • Overheard cell phone conversation outside tourist trap in Victoria, BC: "Do you have a code name for that guy?"
  • My husband taught C the meaning of the word "radiance" at bedtime on July 4. "Tomorrow's word will be schadenfreude," he said. I don't think it happened, but a nightly vocabulary word is a nice idea.
  • Here's another overheard conversation, this time a Caucasian mom in Vancouver talking to her small daughter: "We're going to eat sushi on the beach. Doesn't that sound nice?"
  • While in BC, we twice saw a mama raccoon and her four half-grown babies come down boldly to grandma's suburban swimming pool for a drink.
  • Reproached for running around and yelling, C told her father calmly and helpfully, "That's just what kids do. You just have to take it."

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