Archive for July, 2019

Roberts Reunion 2019 – part 2 (Monday)

Here are some Monday highlights before I forget them.

~ Scott and I talked with Milt and Becky at their house fairly (about life in general and Mom in particular); during our conversation I watched Mom diligently walking her laps on the porch, ramp, and front walk.

~ Mom demonstrated her new wonder bed to Kevin, Elsa, and John. It is quite amazing. Then they all went over to Mom’s house to visit for a while.

~ Susie and I were able to have an encouraging one-on-one conversation at our house. I think our menfolk were both working…? or talking…?

~ A subset of the cousins went to Starbucks [which cousins were involved?].

~ Katie went with Kristy to take Isabel for her volunteer shift at the library.

~ Scott, Andrew, and I had lunch at our house, finishing off the last of our homemade salsa. Just as we were cleaning up and preparing to leave for bowling, Katie and Kristy arrived. They inhaled lunch while Scott, Andrew and I drove a very convoluted series of backroads to Strikers in [name of town, SC], where our large gang with Groupons presented an at least mild level of challenge to the staff.  = )

~ Bowling was lots of fun! Grandma and Susie had balcony seating and cheered everyone on. I think we were divided as follows:

Lane 3: Krit/Bec, Isabel, John, Milt

Lane 4: Andrew, Scott, Jon, Stuart, Hannah???, ???

Lane 5: Rachelle, Amanda, Elsa, Katie, me

We bowled two games (Elsa only one).

I struggled the first game (77)due to the pain of walking in bowling shoes, but the second game I used the “just stand at the foul line and roll it” strategy, which worked MUCH better (110!).

Katie also had a hard time, but definitely improved in the second game. She is such a cheerful trooper!

Grandma ended up wrapping herself in someone’s camo jacket to keep warm.

Jon, who seems to be all arms and legs, had a crazy technique that resulted in either strikes or gutter balls.

Amanda had great power but less precision.

Stuart consistently bowled very well.

Hannah’s goal was to come in third.

I totally enjoyed Andrew and Rachelle’s intense rivalry. They exchanged very narrow (two or three point) victories.

~ After bowling, a larger subset of cousins went to Starbucks.  = )  [Which cousins?]

~ Lesson learned: When you preparing to cook away from home, be sure to bring ALL the required ingredients; baked beans need brown sugar! Scott graciously rescued me by going to Mom’s house to get some from her pantry… more on that later.

~ Our burger cookout at the Jones home was a great success. We ate lots of good food [ask Becky for her salad and potato recipes], the cousins played games including Pandemic, and Stuart is now the rookie cornhole champion of the year, having expertly tossed his VERY LAST beanbag in a clutch so as to both sink it AND knock off another one so as to win the game! And there was much rejoicing.  = )

~ I was really glad to get to talk a bit with Kevin (inside before dinner) and Stuart (outside during dinner – while serving myself to a horde of mosquitoes on the back step). The mid-generation ladies (Becky, Kristy, Susie, and me) later talked around the table with empathy; we can identify with each other as we all have parents in their 80s who are in varying degrees of health and ability. We also shared a lot of laughs.

~ While enjoying the sumptuous repast out back, Scott talked with Mom about the possibility of sub-letting her house and also his plan to get her pantry cleaned out the following morning. She was agreeable to both, and as I type this Tuesday morning, Scott is at her house tackling the pantry.

~ So far during our time in Waxhaw, I have been motivated to:

– work on my strengthening my core and improving my posture

– be more intentional about staying in touch with our kids

– figure out practical ways for us to help Mom

– reply to emails/texts/calls promptly

– get our own will updated (set up a trust?)

~ Elsa is quite the amazing young lady – creative, determined, gorgeous, resourceful, independent – and with hugs all around we saw her off; she would have a 7:00 AM flight Tuesday.

~ Hannah, Jon, Katie, and Andrew reconvened at our house for a Spider Man movie while Scott beat me soundly first at Gin Rummy and then at the stupid game.

~ I’m so thankful for a great bed. It’s more comfortable than ours at home!

Roberts Reunion 2019 – Part 1 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

It’s family reunion time, in honor of Scott’s mom being 85 this year. Memorable events of our trip thus far include:

~ My decision to drive 5 mph over the speed limit for the duration (and a good thing I did!)

~ Siri’s sending us on an unplanned visit to Karnak, IL (was the Highway 60 Mississippi River bridged closed or not?!?).

~ Finally arriving at Town Place Suites in Knoxville at 3:15 AM local time, assuming we’d need to leave by 7:00 (meaning get up at 6:00), gratefully learning we wouldn’t need to leave till 10:00 (meaning sleep in till 9:00, ah!), and then being startled awake by a phone ringing incessantly at 8:15 (it was Stuart, very cheerful, just calling cheerfully).

~ First seeing Katie and Grandma walking toward our apartment at JAARS.

~ Playing Five Crowns – first with Scott, Patty, Andrew, Katie, Grandma; then dealing in super-tall Florida John.

~ The look on Katie’s face when she found all the freezer meals and I told her why they were there.  = )

~ Stuart and Susie came over, left for a short “date,” returned, and told us Hannah’s flight had been cancelled; she’d arrive right at reunion time on Sunday.

~ Fun supper of white chili, watermelon, and misc munchies with all eight of us crammed around our loaded table.

~ A brief late-night visit to Joneses; their driveway gives new meaning to parallel parking.

~ Sunday morning worship at Stuart at Susie’s apartment – guitar, flute, “Step By Step.” Kevin, Elsa (flew in) and John – “wow, have they grown up too!” Stuart challenged us with a message about discretion.

~ A fun grocery run to Waxhaw’s Walmart Neighborhood Market with Andrew and Katie; if you can’t find sausage biscuits, just get the croissants.

~ Had a sandwich lunch (with cheddar & sour cream potato chips, yum) with us four and no more, before heading to Waxhaw Bible Church for the actual, “official”reunion.

~ Present:


Kevin, Elsa, John

Stuart, Susie, Hannah, John (later Maggie and Mitchell by Skype)

Scott, Patty, Katie, Andrew

Becky, Milt, Ian, Rachelle, Amanda, Isabel


~ Many games were played (Five Crowns, Trekking the National Parks, Spot-It, Cornhole, Angry Birds(?), Risk, and Kevin gave massages to Milt, Andrew, and Grandma.

~ Circle time with many questions was wonderful, and the goal of making Grandma smile and/or cry was definitely achieved over and over. Lots of great and funny stories were shared – dancing on the car, where the Roberts killer competitive instinct came from, skiing at Crested Butte – along with some bittersweet ones – what she’s learned in the past two months.

~ Milt and Becky presented an awesome slide show of pictures of Grandma through the years, to the song ”  ?  ” (more tears for many of us). I intend to get a a copy of that video.

~ Grandma catered Chipotle for dinner and we all built our own burritos.

~ After a quick clean-up, we all trundled back to JAARS for a professional photo shoot that went well and wasn’t too long.

~ Part of the gang stayed at Stuart and Susie’s to finish (?) their Risk game, while Andrew knocked out his chemistry, and Becky, Milt, Grandma, Scott, Katie, and I went to Joneses to play Bridge. I bid poorly, and Grandma bid in mysterious ways that no one could understand, and there was great laughter. (Note for future reference: a two opener means that one has 20+ points, NOT that one has 6 points and ace, king, queen of a suit… unless the one happens to be Grandma!)

~ While there we got to Skype with Jessica and Eli, who was on maximal cute detail. What a kid! What a mom!

~ Back “home,” we had a rematch of Trekking the National Parks. It’s definitely best with three or four, and Katie prevailed mightily.

A few things I’ve learned

  1. When geocaching, wear long pants, carry a walking stick, and keep a pen in your pocket.
  2. This summer’s weather in Walnut Shade is much like weather in Florida: raining heavily – but briefly – every day.
  3. It is important to hang the Irish Spring around your tomatoes when you first plant them. Waiting a few weeks can have devastating results.
  4. Intermittent problems, whether electronic, physiological, or automotive in nature, can be virtually impossible to solve; with the result that they are infuriatingly maddening.
  5. Two things that are extremely energizing and life-giving for me are getting things done and getting rid of things.

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