Archive for the 'Family' Category

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:

Grandma

Kevin, Elsa, John

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

Scott, Patty, Katie, Andrew

Becky, Milt, Ian, Rachelle, Amanda, Isabel

Kristy

~ 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.

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Hard-working man

During the final week of Andrew’s Christmas break, we had him do quite a lot of work around our “homestead.” It was not work he chose to do, but I was so proud of his diligence to get it all done – well and without uttering one word of complaint. At least in my presence, there were no eye rolls, no deep sighs, and no negative comments.

Now that he’s back at school, everywhere I look, inside and out, I see the results of his labor, and I think of him and smile – and sometimes cry a little. (It’s what moms do.)

We just gave him this list and told him it all needed to be done before he left for school the next week. How and when he did it was his business.

First, he thoroughly scrubbed down the outside of the grill.

Then he took down the Morning Glory vines from the mailbox and disentangled them from the green plastic mesh they climb on. That’s a much-hated task that I usually do in November or December but never got around to this year.

He also cleaned out the whole mailbox flower bed,

and the big bed around the dogwood tree. The big bed has some perennials that will benefit from a covering of mulch and leaf litter over the winter, so I asked him to just clear out the big stuff and leave me a layer of ground cover.

Next he worked with his friend, Zach, to clean out the left garage.

And when I say “clean out,” I really do mean “clean out!”

Andrew emptied out the tomato barrels,

and dumped and spread their dirt in the back bed. Ever since we relocated the iris to the big front bed many years ago, this back one has never really been a “flower” bed, but now it has potential.

He power-washed the propane tank, which had been basically brown with some white showing through. Look at it now!

And that was just the beginning of the power-washing. He power-washed the smokehouse. It was a test; we wanted to be sure the paint would stay on before he tackled more important things – like the house.

First he power-washed the back of the house,

and the area around the back door.

Then the front steps,

the front of the house on the porch,

and even the porch railing!

Everything is so bright and clean. = )

Inside, Andrew de-cobwebbed the whole house, although I don’t have photographic proof of that.

And then there was the cellar. Ah, the cellar. For 22 years, we’ve collected more and more junk down there, especially to the right and up on the ledge. I went down there with him and told him I only wanted to keep three specific things: the milk crates, the stacking plastic cubbies, and a set of canning jars. Scott added miscellaneous paint and some other things to the list, and just look at the right side now!

I didn’t even ask Andrew to deal with the ledge, but I guess he was on a roll, and here’s how it turned out, clean as a whistle!

Andrew hauled two trailer-loads of junk to the dump.

He also cleaned all the first floor windows inside and out. Now I can look out back while I’m doing dishes, and my view of the bird feeder is crystal clear.  = )

Andrew, thank you so much for all your hard work!!! I really appreciate the many messy chores you did and your cheerful attitude while doing them. The results are wonderful, and so are you!  = )

 

Jeopardy question: What is “just giddy?”

Answer: The best way to describe me last night at about 10:10, standing out on the driveway, shivering, stepping back and forth, hoodie hood up, as Scott and I evaluated the sound of every eastbound vehicle. Based on a recent phone call in which I heard “approaching A and BB” (but I must’ve told Scott “at A and BB”), I had estimated 10:15 PM, he had estimated 10:13 PM, and we’re nothing if not competitive about such very important matters.

“Do you think that’s them? Well, probably not. Her new car is heavier than Lil’ Blue, but that sounds more like… ”

It was a truck.

“Sure is nippy out here.”

“Yeah, but this is what I do! I’m a mom… Hey, maybe…?”

“Naw. Going too fast.”

“And THAT can’t be them…!”

It wasn’t.

“How long’s it take from A and BB anyway? It’s 10:12, so any minute now… ”

And then, finally (at 10:15, consider smiley face inserted), the lowering pitch of a car slowing down, headlights reflecting off the pavilion across the highway, and in they spun, grinding gravel! (Why does the arrival of kids coming home always make me cry? Especially when I’m so thrilled to see them?!?) And Josiah grinning, and big hugs, and Katie stepping out of the car with a smile, having driven non-stop for 15 hours and 35 minutes, and more hugs, and “Welcome HOME!”

I was just giddy.

I have 29 years to go…

… until I do like my parents and celebrate OUR 60th anniversary! We had a special celebration with them in their home in North Little Rock last weekend, and it was a wonderful blessing to see so many of their friends (many who live half an hour away in Cabot where they attend church) turn out in 50-degree weather and pouring down rain to honor them and their marriage. They all said such wonderful and true things about Mom and Dad, and I was once again so very proud to be their daughter.

Event planning was not included in my natural skill set, but since I am becoming “mature” enough to recognize many of my own shortcomings, I humbled myself and, at Scott’s urging, asked for help. Scott and I did most of the planning, but Dad put together a wonderful slide show of their many years together, our girls sent video greetings, and several of our friends here and several of their friends there used their various talents to provide decorations, recipes, gifts, and photography. Scott put together a fun trivia quiz with 18 multiple choice questions about my folks, and then we gave a prize to the guest with the most correct answers (11). After all, how many people’s moms have been taking daily insulin injections for 82 years? And how many people’s dads even own an accordion – much less can play it?!?

I’ll just say that for two (at the time) unbelieving, non-dancing college students (a freshman and a sophomore) to meet on a blind date to the Junior Prom, marry, raise a family, and become Christians – in that order – and then still be deeply in love and very happily married SIXTY years later; well, that just has to be a God thing. And I and our family are some of the beneficiaries. What an awesome heritage we have! Thank you, God, and Congratulations, Mom and Dad!

Three in three

That would be final shifts at three different jobs on three consecutive days.

Today Andrew did his final Rendezvous cleaning, a quick turn that he finished at 2:00 PM. He’s been cleaning that house for six and-a-half years, since he was 12, and today an era has ended. I think he told Scott he might be willing to stay on an emergency-only cleaners list, but he’s no longer a regular RVR employee.

Tomorrow he will clean the Life Christian Center church building for the last time. I think he’s been doing that job weekly for about four years. He told me today that Pastor Barb had gotten someone else to do it. I don’t know who that is, but I do know that while Andrew’s been thankful to have that steady income each week, he’s also glad to be free from that responsibility as he starts college next week.

The day after tomorrow will be his final shift of the season as a lifeguard and ATL (Assistant to Lead) at White Water. He’s worked there for the past three summers, making “a lot” of money the summer after his sophomore year, “an amazingly huge amount” of money the summer after his junior year, and “some” money this summer after graduation; the reduction being result of his grand summer of travel. Andrew really wanted to go places and have fun this summer, and he’s been to:

~  Waxhaw, NC with Scott and me to see his grandma, aunts, uncle, and cousins (5 days traveling)

~ The Barn at Maryville, MO with his Chamber Singers friends (4 days traveling)

~ Yellowstone National Park, camping with Katie, Jessica and Matthias, Josiah, Scott, and me (12 days traveling)

~ Faith Ministries Youth Camp at Bear Trap Ranch in Colorado (8 days traveling)

~ Kansas City with his friends (2 days traveling)

In addition to those trips, Andrew’s also had a lot of fun closer to home, what with lots of hanging out with friends, bowling, a couple kayak trips, and going to a St. Louis Cardinals game with Jess and Matthias. And oh yeah, he’s also had a fourth job this summer: singing and serving ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. I’m pretty sure he’s worked his final shift there, because it’s Thursday now, and following a cookout here on Sunday with his friends and a number of their moms, he’ll be moving into his dorm at MSU on Monday.

I’m really proud of that man. It’s not just anybody who can wrap up three jobs in three days, but Andrew’s definitely not just anybody. He’s my son.  = )

 

“O, the infinite value…”

Of a skilled Research Consultant.

A mere 20 minutes after I posted “Sunset in Somerset” in which I bemoaned our failure to locate Scott’s dad’s grave marker in Somerset, Kentucky, Katie sent me this link, which please do click. As you can see, the upright gravestone we so diligently sought does indeed exist (Whew!), and there’s a good reason why we never found it: We were scouring cemeteries in the city of Somerset in south central Kentucky, but Scott’s father’s U.S. headstone is not and never was in Somerset at all; it’s in Warsaw, a city on the Ohio River some two and-a-half hours (146 miles) north of Somerset!

I feel simultaneously both somewhat dumb (or at least ignorant) and very, VERY relieved.

To Katie I can truly say, “Yes, good has been done here. Thank you!”

We’ve got an ATL!

What exactly, you may ask, does ATL stand for? And is it something we want to have? The short answers would be, respectively, “I don’t know,” and “Yes, absolutely.”

Andrew, who started last year as a Life Guard One (LG1) at White Water and has since been raised to Life Guard Two (LG2), recently applied to be an ATL. It’s a step above LG2 and a step below Lead, and it involves some level of oversight of other guards, several more responsibilities, and a pay raise. All good things. Details I don’t yet know include:

  • the particulars of other guard oversight (although I know ATL’s help train guards, make sure guards are doing their jobs properly, and confront/correct/instruct them when they’re not)
  • an ATL’s specific additional responsibilities (although I know they clear the pools when needed – like in a rescue situation or when there’s lightning, and they are the ones who clean up “spills” – like when a guest poops or pukes in a pool)
  • pay rates for LG1’s, LG2’s, or ATL’s

I do know that ATL’s serve as assistant managers to the “Leads,” so I’m guessing that ATL might stand for something like “Assistant to Lead” or “Always Too Lucid” or “Able To Laugh.” I also know that Andrew felt that his interview went “pretty well,” and he was quite pleased to have gotten the job. Today was his first shift as an ATL,and he was scheduled to work 10:20 AM to 10:30 PM. I suspect he will sleep pretty well tonight.


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