Thursday, July 26, 2012
Planning for our recent trip to Michigan began several months ago when I received a call from Kerri asking if Dick and I could meet them in July and babysit Lucy and Ruby while she and Ron attended her 20 year class reunion. My first reaction was that I wasn’t old enough to have a daughter who was attending a 20 year class reunion, but that thought passed and I said of course we would jump at any opportunity to be with our two precious grandchildren. Of course we would be happy to see Kerri and Ron as well and it would also give us a chance to visit old friends and relatives.
A couple of months before our trip, Kerri called and asked if we would like to go a few days early and stay in a time share condo in Ontario, Canada. After being in the 100 degree temperatures in Georgia, Canada sounded like a good plan so I said yes. Since Ontario is just across the bridge from Detroit I assumed it would just be a short drive. Little did I know when Kerri later gave me the name of the complex and I mapquested it that it was a 6 hour drive. By that time it was too late to change plans as they would lose the time share points. More about the drive later.
So plane reservations were made and we began scheduling all doctors’ visits and house maintenance work around the dates for our trip. That is no easy task since Dick and I seem to visit at least one doctor a week and after 16 years in this house, it seems everything has to be repaired or replaced. We also had to make hotel reservations as our friend Bonnie who we usually stay with has recently had very serious ear surgery and was still recuperating so we knew we couldn’t barge in with 2 little ones and 4 adults. Kerri and Ron were invited to stay with friends so at least we only needed one hotel room.
Our flight to Detroit went smoothly and it seemed short after all the longs flights to CA. Kerri and Ron arrived ahead of us and picked up the rental Ford Expedition and then met us at airport. We left the airport at 3:00 P.M. for our “leisurely” drive to northern Canada. Since we had so much luggage, there was only room to put up one small seat in the back of the car and Kerri volunteered to sit back there and let me sit next to the girls. The car reminded me of the Griswold family movies where they were so packed in that no one could move.
We stopped at customs on U.S. side just to pay toll and crossed over the Ambassador Bridge. Then proceeded to check point on Canadian side where we had to show passports. The man asked Ron where we were going and he didn’t know and neither did anyone in the car so we had to find reservation papers to show him the name and address of the resort. You might think that someone would know where we were going but we only had the address and map quest directions to guide us on this journey into the wilds. Then the man asked why we chose that particular place and Kerri said “because we were looking for place close to Detroit”. I wisely kept my mouth shut as I wondered if 6 hours was close to Detroit. Apparently the customs man didn’t question it as he let us go. We all breathed a little easier after that as we could have been held up for many reasons and had to unpack the car. I guess we didn’t look like drug smugglers or criminals.
Since the California group had not eaten lunch we found an A&W and everyone had their "fast food high." I went to Tim Hortons next door and got a cup of coffee and drooled over all the donuts and pastries that I couldn’t eat. They looked so yummy.
Since Kerri was getting car sick I volunteered to sit in the back. Ruby and Lucy went to sleep and even though I tried I couldn’t get in a comfortable position to nap. Both Ruby and Lucy are very good travelers and will sit for hours just looking out the window and talking. Of course they’ve had a lot of experience traveling with their parents. I just wished I was as contented as they were.
Dick entertained Lucy and everyone else with various stories, which included telling her that Nana liked to laugh at situations which shouldn’t be funny. For instance when he was repairing a lamp and didn’t unplug the electrical cord and almost fried his hand. He put a white sock over his hand and thought that would keep him from getting shocked. Well I heard a yell and went into the room where he was working and the sock was black. I couldn’t believe he hadn’t unplugged the cord before sticking his hand down into the lamp and he said I laughed at him which I probably did after I saw that he was not hurt. He also told of how we were having dinner at a nice restaurant and I took a bite of a cherry tomato and it squirted across the table all over his tie. Well I do remember laughing at that experience although he didn’t think ruining his nice tie was very funny.
After a few more such stories Lucy turned around and said “Nana, when we get to our condo I need to talk to you.” I said okay. More later.
At some point, Ruby was hungry and we had a new carton of milk but her bottle was full of old milk. Instead of stopping to empty and wash the bottle Kerri decided on Ron’s direction to open the window and pour it out. Well of course it covered all the windows and side of the car, but since the car was white it didn’t stand out too much. Dick eventually washed it off after we arrived at our destination. I don’t know if it flew into any other cars or not as I was too flabbergasted at watching milk fly in all directions to notice any cars.
We made several more stops and it began to rain and get dark and we still were not at our destination. As we got closer and the terrain became more desolate we decided that we needed to stop and buy a few staples for breakfast the next morning. We found a little town with grocery store and someone told us to take different directions to our resort than what we had on map quest. Well we drove about 15 miles and decided we’d better stop and ask directions and that person sent us back to retrace our route so we wasted about 30 minutes driving around the back roads of Canada.
By the time we arrived at the resort it was almost 10:00 P.M. and we had been traveling for 7 hours. Kerri and Ron went into the office to resister while we waited in the car. As we were sitting there, Dick said “look over at the grill area” which was in front of the office door. I looked and there was a skunk just strolling around and seemingly not in a hurry to move out of the area. Lucy was just fascinated and knew all about how skunks spray the awful odor. We were holding our breaths and hoping he left before Kerri and Ron came out and startled him into action. Fortunately he walked away just before they came out with keys and a map to our condo. Well the resort was a huge complex (actually a ski resort; hence so far north) and the room numbers were on boards outside each building. Needless to say they weren’t easy to read in the dark so Kerri had to keep getting out and reading signs until we finally found our condo. We got the girls out of their car seats and we each grabbed a bag and trudged up to the room. When we opened the door we knew something was wrong because it was just a regular room with a small sink and a couch but definitely not a two bedroom condo as we were supposed to have. Kerri quickly called the office while we tried to keep Lucy from jumping on the bed which is one of her favorite things to do when she gets to a hotel room. The man in the office told us to come back and he would give us the keys to new room. So we piled back into the car and drive to office to get keys. When Kerri got back into the car she said she had been given 2 free movie rentals and popcorn for our inconvenience. It took us forever to find the correct building and then our condo so it was 10:30 by the time we had everything unloaded.
Actually we had 2 condos as one had a huge kitchen living room area and master bedroom with Jacuzzi tub and 2 separate rooms. The connecting room had a sitting room and small kitchen and was completely separate from the main room. Kerri and Ron took that room so the girls would have a quiet room when it was time for bed. So Dick and I got the larger space which was very nice as we each had our separate sinks to spread out all of our medicines and toiletries--and that’s no small feat considering all the drugs we have. Then there are all of my anti aging creams which take up a lot of space.
We were all exhausted but we had to unpack the car and get semi settled before going to bed so it was very late when everyone was finally abed as Shakespeare says. (Doesn’t he??) I of course woke up at my usual 7:30 hour and everyone else slept until after 10 or 11. After late breakfast Dick and Ron took the girls to the pool while Kerri and I ventured into the 4 corner town to get a few more groceries and scout out the 2 little gifts shops. We always manage to find clothes or jewelry and that trip was no exception. One of the gift shops had homemade fudge and an ice cream shop attached so we bought fudge for Dick which he enjoyed.
I forgot to say that the resort was an hour’s drive north of Toronto and very beautiful in a beautiful area, but just a little isolated. It is actually a ski resort but has a few golf courses around so seemed to be full judging by the number of cars we saw in the parking lot.
That evening one of the Toronto radio show hosts who interviews Kerri on a regular basis for his radio show offered to drive up and take Kerri and Ron to dinner and discuss some business things they were working on. You can imagine that there were not an abundance of restaurants and some of them were closed except on weekends. As Dick and I had Ruby and Lucy and didn’t want to intrude on Kerri and Ron’s dinner we tried several eateries before finally stopping at the Crazy Horse Café. As we were walking in I told Lucy that Crazy Horse was an Indian so when the hostess greeted us Lucy asked her where the Indian was. She didn’t have a clue what Lucy was talking about although you might think she would get the connection. I told her that Crazy Horse was an Indian and then she understood. Duh!!! Maybe since he wasn’t from Canada they didn’t know who he was.
We asked her to seat us over in a corner as we never know how Lucy is going to behave and we don’t like to attract attention. We sat Ruby in a high chair and gave her a bottle and she was perfectly content to enjoy the surroundings. Well, Lucy looked out the window and said “look, look” and I looked and saw umbrellas over tables and thought she was pointing at the umbrellas. So I said “yes, very pretty” and she said “no there’s mommy and daddy” and sure enough there they were sitting with their friends at a table outside. Well Lucy immediately had to go and say hello so Dick went along with her. I was thinking of all the places to choose when we were trying hard to not eat at the same place and there we were. Fortunately they were outside but we had to practically tie Lucy down as she wanted to keep running back and forth with the excuse that she just had to tell mommy something important.
Our food was just on the okay side and I think Crazy Horse could have probably done better but at least our stomachs were full. After we finished eating I took Ruby outside to say hello and Lucy entertained everyone with the Michael Jackson moonwalk and one of his songs. Drew and Bev, Kerri’s friends invited us to stop by the summer camp where Bev was working with the horse program so Lucy could ride a horse. We agreed to stop on my way home on Friday morning since it was supposed to be on the way home. More on that later.
The next day we drove about 25 miles to a small town where they had a beach on Lake Huron where the kids could wade and swim. Lucy and Ruby both love the water and are fearless so we had to keep Lucy from swimming out to middle of the lake. Thankfully her dad was with her and could keep up with her. Dick took charge of Ruby and they had fun wading and making sand castles. Dick had bought a badminton set for Lucy so she played that game with her parents. Needless to say when it was time to go everyone was covered with sand and there was no place to wash it off near the car. We changed the girls’ clothes and tried to get as much of the sand off as possible but we went home with a fair amount in the car. At least everyone had fun.
That afternoon the resort had a movie trivia contest so Kerri, Ron, Dick, and Lucy went and I kept Ruby in the condo. They were only gone about 20 minutes and came in saying that they won the prize of a free movie. Then they added that they were the only ones to show up so won the prize without playing the game. Guess there were no other movie buffs at the resort.
As we were all sitting around the living room chatting, Lucy looked at me and said “Nana I need to have a talk with you and we need to be private”. She had not forgotten telling me that in the car. So I said very seriously that we could go into my bedroom and close the door which we did. I sat down in the chair and she got a pillow and sat on it next to the bed facing me. Then she said “Nana you know you shouldn’t laugh at Rocco and you should apologize to him for laughing. Then you should ask God to forgive you”. Well I’m trying to keep a straight face and Kerri walked in from the bathroom door and stood listening where Lucy couldn’t see her and she was cracking up. So I said “but Lucy it was funny and Rocco shouldn’t have been playing with electricity without unplugging the cord so I don’t think I’ll apologize for that”. Well that just wouldn’t do and she kept on and on telling me I had to apologize and ask God’s forgiveness until I finally agreed just so we could end the conversation. I promised not to laugh at inappropriate times and that seemed to satisfy her. Truthfully I was sitting there in wonder and amazement that a 4 year old was chastising me and was very serious that I had done something that needed atonement from both Dick and God. What could I expect when she was 6 or 7? But did I apologize and ask forgiveness? Only Dick and God know.
The next day Kerri had made hair and spray tanning appointments in another little town about 20 miles in a different direction than the day before. She had to look good for her class reunion weekend which started Friday night. Ron, Lucy, and I went with her and Dick stayed with Ruby. We went a little early so we could look around some of the shops. Lucy wanted to buy Rocco a gift since he had brought lots of gifts for her on the trip. She chose a pirate cupcake as one of his gifts had been a pirate coloring book. We also stopped for gas and the sign said $1.21 and we were marveling at how low the price was when Ron said that the price was for a liter or some Canadian measurement and not a gallon. So it was probably the same as we paid in Michigan or maybe more.
Then it was time for Kerri’s hair appointment so we drove to shop where she thought she had the appointment only to be told it was the wrong shop, After some calling around, they finally found the right shop and it was right downtown where we had been shopping earlier. Lucy went to sleep in her car seat so Ron and I rode around and looked at some of the houses and beach area and finally just parked the car and waited for Kerri. She was late for the tanning appointment but they waited for her. When she came out she looked very dark and she kept telling us it would fade overnight.
We drove back to the condo and picked up Dick and Ruby and had dinner at a restaurant that had been recommended to us by several people. We were very disappointed in all of our food but at least we didn’t have to cook it.
As we were leaving fairly early the next morning we packed as much as possible and tried to go to bed early. I think Dick was the only one who actually achieved that goal as Kerri and Ron decided to go the exercise room at 10:00. That left me to try and get Lucy and Ruby in bed and that entailed putting Ruby in her crib and laying in bed with Lucy telling her stories. Ruby just played and talked until she finally went to sleep but Lucy was still awake at 11 when her parents came back. I left them and went to bed.
We left on Friday around 9:30 as was the plan and we were supposed to drive an hour to the horse camp so Lucy could ride. Drew had given Kerri the directions so she sat in the front in the navigator’s seat. When we turned off the main road she told Ron to turn left and go 40 kilometers which is about 25 miles I think. We never quite figured that out. So I remarked that I thought it was on the way and not 25 miles off the road. I received scolding comments from most everyone so I kept quiet. Well eventually we came to a dead end and it wasn’t the road we were supposed to turn on but Ron turned left anyway and drove several miles looking for the right road. Kerri called Drew who told her that we had turned the wrong way off the main highway and had driven the 25 miles the wrong direction. By that time it was after 11:00. Ron turned around and drove the now50 miles to the camp and arrived after all the kids were having lunch.
Drew invited us to have lunch which we did and it was amazingly very good food for a camp. We later found out that the camp was very expensive to attend and had its own chef. It was very nice and in a beautiful setting and after lunch Drew gave us a short tour and took us out to the barn where Lucy’s white horse Tia was waiting. She didn’t hesitate as Drew helped her up and led her out of the stable and up a trail in the woods. Well the temperature was probably close to 90 and I wasn’t up to following a horse through the woods so Dick and I kept Ruby and stayed in the shade with the other horses. Dick kidded me that I had grown up in the country around horses, cows, and barns and I should be right at home with the smell and flies, etc. I just said I thanked God that He had given me that special childhood but saw fit to move me out of the country and into the city. I developed a taste for shoes and never went barefoot again.
After awhile we heard the group returning and Drew was actually trotting as Tia was trotting behind him with Lucy having a ball bouncing up and down in the saddle. Kerri and Ron brought up the rear at a more leisurely pace. By that time it was after 1:00 and we still had a long drive ahead so we said our goodbyes and piled back in the car.
Lucy kept us entertained part of the time singing songs in Chinese. Then she made up songs in a language that none of us understood and kept singing. Kerri told Dick to ask her Star Wars questions. She has never seen the movie but Ron has read the book to her and she knows every character in all the movies so she answered all the questions that Dick could think to ask her. Then she watched a DVD and I took a short nap.
It was almost 7:00 when we dropped Kerri and Ron off at the Hertz rental car at the airport. They were supposed to be at some reunion gathering at 7:30 but that would be delayed. They were staying in Northville with one of Kerri’s friends and we drove to Novi to the Marriott Residence Inn.
We checked in and got to our room as quickly as possible. Shortly afterwards an older man brought a pac n’ play bed for Ruby. I could tell that he spoke with a foreign accent and didn’t understand much of what I was saying. When Lucy said something to him and he didn’t answer she said “ don’t you speak English?” He replied that he was from Russia so Lucy then told him she was born in Russia. I don’t know if he understood her or not but he continued trying to get the bed put together as she chatted on about Russia like she knew where it was. Maybe she does.
We had planned to get a carry out for dinner but we were too tired to go out so I took Lucy to the lobby and we bought mac and cheese for her and TV dinner for me. Neither tasted very good but we were thankful not to have to get back in the car. Both girls were wound up and it was after 10:30 before they finally went to sleep. I think I slept better that night than any time during the whole trip.
The next morning I woke up at my usual 7:00 and tried to be quiet and not wake the girls or Dick as I got dressed and went down the breakfast. It was actually a very good selection of food but I had my usual oatmeal and coffee. Then I went back to the room to see if Lucy was awake and wanted to go down and eat. She was awake so she got dressed and I took her back down while Dick watched Ruby who was happily drinking her bottle of milk and watching cartoons. She loves television and is content to sit and watch which probably isn’t what her parents would like but it keeps her occupied when we need to be doing other things.
My main order of business for the day was going to my hairdresser of 25 years when we lived in Michigan. She is still in the same building in Dearborn but now only works 2 days a week. I’m sure she could retire except that she doesn’t want to disappoint her clients who have been coming to her for many years and don’t want to change hairdressers.
Kerri and Ron were going to a class picnic at the new Northville High School and wanted to take the girls so we met them in town and left the girls with them. We had thought that we might get back from Dearborn in time to join them and see some of Kerri’s friends but after stopping at a Coney Island restaurant we didn’t make it back in time. Dick has always loved Coney Island hamburgers since he grew up eating them quite often so that was a main priority for our visit. In Michigan they are plentiful and he has never understood why some industrious Greek hasn’t opened one up in near us in Georgia.
We met them at the mall where Kerri was getting her nails done and Ron was watching the girls in the play area. We took the girls and stopped by to visit Bonnie and Bill, our friends that we usually stay with when we visit Michigan. As it happened their upstairs air conditioning was out and we would have been very hot had we been staying with them. So things always work out for the best. We had a nice visit and Ruby entertained them with her walking and talking while Lucy played with their grandchildren’s toys. She remembered staying with them last year and that they had a little pond in the back yard with tiny frogs and she wanted to see the frogs. Bonnie told her that the frogs were gone but she insisted on seeing for herself. Her memory is amazing. Bonnie looked very good considering the ordeal she had been going through for the past few months with her ear surgery.
After our visit we drove to our hotel, stopping at Panera Bread Company on the way and getting carry-out for dinner. Dick took Lucy swimming and Ruby and I played in the room. That was the evening of Kerri’s reunion and she and Ron were performing at the event so she was nervous about doing a show for her peers. We saw a video of it the next day and it sounded like it was very successful as there was lots of loud laughter. Kerri and Ron thought everyone enjoyed it. Kerri had fun with her friends but was disappointed that only a small percentage of her class attended.
The next day we rested and shopped for short time. Kerri and Ron did a show in Monroe, Mi. which was an hour’s drive. They had moved to a hotel in the afternoon as their friends had left for trip to Northern Michigan. We still had the girls so Dick took turns taking them both swimming which they loved. Lucy can now swim across the pool and Ruby loves the water. Unfortunately that night Lucy’s eye started burning from the chlorine so we had to make a trip to drug store for eye drops. An ice cream bar helped tremendously in easing the eye pain.
While Lucy was watching television Ruby found the two mirrored glass doors to our closet and spent the next hour entertaining Rocco and Nana with her antics in front of the mirror. She talked, danced,sat, stood, did hand signs, and kissed herself in the mirror. It was just too precious to watch and we wished that we had a video camera to record her performance for her parents. We didn’t know if she thought she was talking to a friend or knew it was herself she was seeing but she never stopped moving. She was so funny and cute and we loved every minute. I told Kerri that she needed to buy a mirror for her to have at home so she could talk to herself or her friend.
The next few days were spent visiting friends and having dinner with different set of friends for the 3 remaining nights that we were in town. Kerri and Ron did a show on Monday night at Meadow Brook Theater, a beautiful theater east of Detroit. Since Ron’s 2 aunts were driving down from Flint to see them, they took the girls with them to the show so we had the evening free to have dinner with Northville friends. As they were flying back to LA early the next morning they all stayed in our hotel room which was a little crowded but everyone had a place to sleep.
They were up at 5:00A.M. the next morning to leave for an 8:30 flight. Dick and I got up to say goodbye and then went back to bed after they left. It certainly was extremely quiet without our two little angels and of course we missed the whole family.
Dick spent the next two days with high school friends while Bonnie picked me up and we went shopping for short while each day. She was still recovering from surgery and tired easily so it was fine with me to go back to hotel in time for short nap before going out to dinner. I bought a new very light suitcase so since we now had an extra suitcase I could go shopping and make purchases; mostly for scrapbooking and cardmaking. I didn’t buy a single item of clothing or pair of shoes--which was a first for me. I always manage to find shoes no matter where I go shopping. You may remember my earlier comment about moving out of the country and starting to love wearing shoes. Well, shoes became my addiction!
The time passed quickly and soon Thursday morning arrived and it was time for drive to airport. Thankfully we left very early as we always allow time for traffic holdups, because we missed the road to return our rental car and had to back track. Typically it always rains at some point when we travel and that was the morning God decided to give us a shower so we had to unload our luggage and ourselves in the rain when we finally found Budget. The van took us to the airport but not close to the check in so we had to get a bellman to take our luggage. Thankfully he helped us check ourselves in at the Kiosk which we have never done before. I don’t know how people who don’t understand computers ever get on a plane and it was worth the money we gave the bellman to have him do the computer work for us. Then after checking in it was a mile walk (at least it seemed so) to the train that took us to our gate.
Our plane was scheduled to leave at noon but was delayed for 30 minutes so we had plenty of time to get a sandwich and eat before boarding. A young man sat down next to me and started a friendly conversation by asking where I got my sandwich. I told him and he asked if I would save his seat while he went to get a sandwich and I said yes. He returned shortly and we chatted some more about this being our first trip to Detroit in a long while and he asked where we lived, etc. and the conversation continued. At some point Dick returned to the seat next to me and joined the conversation. Brian, the young man told us about his wife and 3 children and that he worked for Coke but lived in Marshall, Mi. and traveled quite a lot to Atlanta. He and Dick started discussing music, Ford, and other topics. After awhile we were on such friendly terms that he gave us his business card and told us he was writing a book about people that he met while he was traveling and he always tried to sit next to people that he thought looked interesting. Well I thought that was me since Dick wasn’t sitting there at the time he sat next to me. I think he mentioned “older” interesting people because they had more experience and more stories to tell. I told him we used to enjoy talking to older people for the same reason but now we were part of the group that we used to seek out. At any rate he was very nice and said he would be emailing us and might have more questions for his book. We in turn invited him to visit us at Tara II when he had some extra time in Atlanta. So the time passed and we boarded the plane. Now we wait to see if we were interesting enough to be in his book.
Our flight home was uneventful and short compared to California flights. Our friend Cliff was waiting with a luggage carrier and we retrieved our luggage and were soon in the car heading home. We dropped Cliff off at his house and made a quick stop at Chick fil A for a salad for me and milk shake for Dick and were soon pulling up in our driveway. We were so happy to be home and looking forward to sleeping in our bed. We walked into the kitchen and were met by trails of thousands of tiny ants all over the floor and leading out to the garage. Dick quickly got the ant spray and I quickly left the area so I didn’t have to breathe the spray. He spent an hour cleaning up ants but fortunately they had not spread out of the kitchen and we were thankful that it was ants and not a flooded basement that had greeted us on two other occasions.
After scanning through the mail and unpacking part of my suitcases and all of Dick’s (he can’t wait until the next day to unpack) we headed for bed earlier than usual. We were both exhausted but thankful to be home and also thankful that we had another wonderful adventure with our family and friends to treasure. God is good!
Thursday, July 19, 2012
|Kerri Pomarolli & Ron McGehee||July 2012|