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Friday, March 24, 2017

No spontaneity until Sunday

My grandson, Francis, wandered into the Washington DC adventure because our destinations might coincide, and he could use a favor. As you recall, he invited me to lunch to quiz me and assess the opportunity. I heard nothing more, and dismissed the possibility of seeing him, until the package intelligence surfaced.

A week and a half ago he asked if I could bring a package for him. Sure, what’s the plan? He hadn’t thought about that, and since he is a spontaneous kind of a guy, he’d just ship it.

I forgot about it again until his mother called, and explained what he was planning to do, which was to bike the tow path trails from Pittsburgh to DC, ship home the bike and other stray belongings, grab the package, containing among other things, his laptop and his photo ID passport, Uber to the airport and visit his South Carolina cousins on Tuesday. He would find us on the mall via his sister’s GPS.

Sounded like a plan to me; I signed off and forgot about it again.

I followed France several days on the trail via his morning and evening Facebook posts.  I was impressed at his determination. He was in it and would see it through. The snow, the frozen trail, camping several nights in primitive conditions, and then that eleven hour day, slogging uphill in mud, walking the bike. Poor guy came out several miles short of a town with decent food (France likes his decent food), and settled for outback poutine; French fries and gravy, served up in a crossroads bar.

But then it was downhill, and he rolled along beside the Potomac River in sixty degree weather, into his favorite lodging, an AirBnB, very near the National Mall. Good food, nice bed, clean clothes. Teddy Roosevelt thought about his safari porter, and texted me, at 6:30 this morning:

How would you like to coordinate package delivery tomorrow? My AirBnB is right by the National Park.

I smiled and went back to sleep. At 8:30, after a shower, dressing, breakfast, bed making and so forth, I replied:

Tomorrow I am driving to Alexandria VA. Expect to be on the National Mall around 10 am Sunday.

Five minutes later: Alright.

I expect he will be through with sister, cousin and grandma long before Tuesday, and change his ticket for a Monday flight.

The weather forecast is outstanding, half the cherry blossoms survived and will peak this weekend. The weather here was so lovely today that I had the front door open all afternoon. 

Toby was beside himself, between standing on the door closer, and peering through the chink at the bottom. I promised him I will get him an all glass storm door this summer and maybe an interior door with full glass this fall, though  that improvement will be more for me than for him.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Of course it’s not over

The sun is shining, the thermometer is just short of fifty, and there are cars in the nursery parking lot.  It’s good for both my expectation and purse that I’ll be out of town for a week. Else I would be looking to buy whatever is out, and add some color to my outdoors.

There is political news. The ACA vote is delayed. The house lost the propaganda value of overturning the ACA on its anniversary date. The World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan, 2017, must try again for votes.

In the meantime, the House inquiry into Russian interference in the last election is in doubt. Nunes, who chairs the committee, took confidential information to President Tweet. I’ve heard that compared to Donna Brazile passing questions to Hillary Clinton, pre-election. Grow up. Clinton was not the sitting president, and Brazile was not under oath. Scandalous, yes. A scandal, no.
This presidency is costing us so much. Trump sons travel the world on Trump brand business; Melania stays in New York; Ivanka inherits the west wing office and awaits top security clearance. Actually, I think all the Trumpsters are in Aspen this weekend, with a hundred secret security agents. Dumping Meals On Wheels cannot underwrite this expense, even for a day.

A terror attack in London, and its population does what grown up’s do. Gets on. Life goes on. We face down the terror by keeping on; living our lives, believing our beliefs, supporting what we care about, and not taking it for granted. Some more post cards and phone calls do not go amiss.

I enjoyed, and participated in a FaceBook challenge. Paul Ryan had disconnected his office phones and faxes at the beginning of the ACA replacement debate. I took up the challenge to land several tons of postcards in his drive way. Recently the challenge was to mail postcards to the White House, all on March 15th. What better way to have a president wonder about his approval rating and why it’s running low.

My post card stash is running low. I’m currently working on my wimp senator, Rob Portman, to oppose The World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan, 2017. Something is getting to him. His office phones weren’t answered today.

It’s too soon to hang hope on spring, but not too late to effect damage control leading up to the next election. In the meantime, some kitchen window photos.

Excess rosemary, drying in the egg separator.

 The orchid will be in bloom, when we are back next Friday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Oh, the details and the reality

This morning Francis is on the downside of Mountain Top. He says, on FaceBook, it’s a gradual descent into DC. In spite of the mud, he seems intent on sticking to the towpath trail. It has been muddier than he expected. He spent eleven hours on the trail yesterday, the majority of it walking, and fell short of his goal of connecting from the GAP trail to the C&O Trail.

France is on the C&O this morning. He said he would start early, perhaps 2 a.m. It seems he did. He expects to be in DC Friday evening. He can just track his sister’s GPS from Cleveland to DC, all day Saturday. Knowing France, he will spend Saturday biking the National Mall, so he can tell the girls where to go. I’ll let you know if he conquers the road and arrives before we arrive.

I wonder when I emerged from spontaneity? When did I abandon “Get dressed; road trip.”  It doesn’t seem that long. But steering two youngsters and myself through a weeks’ getaway required planning. Looking into visiting Monticello, Mt. Vernon and Montpelier was an education.

Perhaps we paid a small admission fee back in the eighties; I don’t recall. Now you pay the fee and get tickets in advance. But, there’s more. You don’t just show up; you schedule a time. So much for spontaneity. I did some juggling and added extra driving to visit all three Presidential homes in two days, to accommodate George Washington.

The area temps will be in the sixties for the duration of our stay, but rain in the forecast, so I made sure everyone has a raincoat. I already learned the circulator bus for the National Mall is a dollar every time you get on, so I will bring a lot of dollar bills. Then I thought of the regular bus line that will get us to the mall, and made the call. It is $1.75, exact change only. I’ll add a roll of quarters. I think I’ll get hand warmers, too.

Laura and I need to think about efficient packing of the car, since I’ve added the push chair to the luggage. She is charged with getting audio books at the library Wednesday night, while I am at the trustee meeting. Laura and Caroline exchanged texts about the book selection while she and I drove home from shopping last weekend.

Suddenly Laura burst out laughing. “Caroline just gave me a list of books I can’t get. The sexual scenes are too explicit for Grandma.” I laughed, too, and had trouble keeping my eyes on the road, for wiping my eyes.

May, 2007. Bekka, blowing bubbles. Uncle Walt on the ramp. Caroline in pink; Laura in some of her clothes, and France, who couldn't catch all the bubbles himself, commiserates with his father.