Oh, like you've never abandonned your blog for 3 weeks.
The trip was mostly splendid, though I did not have the internet access I was hoping for, so sorry to those of you who had been hoping to play along from home.
Sacramento was hot--and I mean that only in the sense that even in the dead of night, it was still nearly 80 degrees. The Ronald McDonald house conscientiously follows the engery company's recommendation to set your thermostat at 80 degrees in the summer (um, if we set our thermostat at 80 here at home, the heater would come on) and I like to be all recommendation-abiding and all, but I also like to not be sweaty all the time. Jonah had a wonderful checkup and doesn't need to go back until January.
We made it from Sacramento to Eugene, OR (usually an 8 hour trip) in only 15 hours in what was quite possibly the worst travelling day of my life. Making our way through the mountains north of Redding at some 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit in a 14 year old Jeep threatening to overheat in 105 degree weather, AC turned off. Not fun. The kids were, I must say, fantastic through all of this. They got a whole bunch of mileage--and some relief--from bottles of frozen water I handed back to them. We stopped in Ashland for dinner, by which time the radiator had started to boil over into the reserve tank. Letting the car cool down helped until we started the car back up. We slowly made our way towards Grant's Pass where the car cooled down again and considered our options, deciding in the end to keep at it and hope for the best. By that time, night had fallen, and the children went to sleep (though this did involve countless requests for me to sing Baby Beluga). We stopped again twice to let the car cool down and to put more coolant into the radiator before arriving in Eugene at 2 am. At one point, John turned to me and said he felt like he was keeping the car going by sheer gripping the steering wheel and keeping an eye on the heat gauge. I assured him that, no, I was keeping the car going through the death-grip I had on the door handle. In any case, there was enough adrenaline to get us to a nice cool room with a king bed.
The next day saw things looking up as it only cost $65 for a nice mechanic to take the faulty thermostat out (apparently, not an entriely essential part, but you'd have to ask Jonh for clarifiaction on this). And he did it for us right quick too. Hurrah.
John had a good time at his meeting and got to spend an afternoon at the university library. The kids and I spent lots of time in the pool. Our room had a balcony overlooking a creek from which we threw bread, crackers, chips etc to ducks, geese and fish. We also saw a river otter. Very cool. We took the kids on their very first canoe ride. No one fell in.
Saturday found us in the car again, headed to my parents' place just north of Seattle. The week there was busy and fun. My folks had a big potluck party on Sunday, all of my siblings were there as well as some family friends . We went to a pretty neat zoo and aquarium near Tacoma (they had a lively walrus, some beluga whales, elephants, bears and so on). The highlight for Jonah was seeing the elephant's butt. We also got to spend a lot of time with John's daughter Rachel. Hannah already looks up to her and I hope she turns out as kind and friendly and gracious and sane as Rachel has. Hannah spent most of the week trying to talk people into jumping on the trampoline with her. Jonah, as usual, charmed the socks off everyone he met.
We headed back towards home on Saturday. Made it out of IKEA for just over $50 (if we'd had more room in thye car though...). Spent the night at the McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, OR, our traditional pit-stop. On Sunday, we met up with a woman from my clubfoot support group who lives in Portland. It was a delightful and fun visit. We spent that night in Eugene and made our way home along the coast on Monday.
Fuzz, the cat, balled us out good as soon as we walked in the door. Sort of hard to tell quite what she was saying, but I'm pretty sure there was some cussing involved. The garden grew while we were gone. We'll have tomatoes soon and we've had the most delicious green beans with dinner twice now. Peas gallore. Carrots.
We've spent the last week doing laundry, unpacking, cleaning, playing with--based on the way they great each other--my children's long-lost friends. My mom and youngest sister (Auntie Mel) spent the night with us on Thursday on their way to a soccer tournament in Danville. John's moving into a new office (for those of you in the know, he's taking over Jim Derden's office). He now has his own bathroom, complete with shower and wall-mounted pencil sharpener.
So. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. And the kids go back to school tomorrow. Oh joy!