Monday, February 01, 2016

California, Here I Come

Marissa called in early January 2016 to see what the possibility would be of me coming out to visit her in California...Livermore to be exact. The request came because Hank had planned a motorcycle trip to Baja and I could come stay with Marissa and help her with the boys.  They generously bought my airline tickets and I suffered through the crazies of all the worrisome things that could happen to me on this trip.

The first news of trouble came in the week before...while working on the cycle, Hank broke something but Marissa told him to just fix it!  More crazy worries on my part.  When will I ever take a trip without getting so paranoid?  Then I get a call that Hank is NOT going on his trip at all. He left home with the cycle and had to return because he forgot his passport.  Around midnight, Marissa heard someone in the garage and it turned out to be Hank....whose motorcycle died about 20 miles from home and a man with a truck brought him and the cycle home.  

He was totally bummed and I could understand it BUT, here's the strangest part..all of a suddenly, I was singing the happy songs about going to visit.  I was calm and looking forward to going.  Do you mean to tell me all this worry was more about Hank's trip than me?

January 26th I flew to Charlotte and transferred planes for San Francisco.  Hank met me at the airport with even worse news, in my book.  Hank, it turned out, has pneumonia!  He had gone to the doctor that day and was given the diagnosis as well as meds.  Can you imagine him in some Mexican hospital with pneumonia?  No wonder I was a mess.  So I was able to play with all the family there.
This is a picture of the hills outside Trefethen's home.  Very pretty area.  Marissa tells me it's hotter than hell there in the summer and she's basically miserable in that climate but the winters are lovely.  Since officially it was winter there, I couldn't believe how much I froze.  I was always wrapped in layers trying not to chatter my foolin'.  Finally Marissa found me an electric blanket and I slept wonderfully each night!

This is what greeted me in their kitchen, as well as a vase of flowers which Henry had insisted I needed.  He wrote the Welcome sign!  Henry and Oskar had stayed up to greet me and then Hank went and gently woke up Simon, placing him in my arms while he continued to waken.  He was all warm and snuggly til he realized I wasn't his mom.  But once he was in her arms he was content to look at me.
There was always so much to do. We played games, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs and whoever wasn't playing with me was playing parallel to me, as Oskar was doing with the magnetic dolls set I had given Simon.

Simon is amazing.  He's quiet and just goes about doing whatever he feels inclined to do...always good natured and respectful of 'things'.  Here he is watching some video on YouTube about planets..the boys are all about planets having made their own set of them.
Typical silly boys with underoos on their heads...giggling the whole time. I think this was mostly Henry's idea of a fashion show but it was perfect.
These two pictures have the boys playing with a car set I bought while at Target with them.  It kept them busy a lot during the time I was there.

Marissa has totally missed an easel she had to leave in Lakewood...along with so many other things she had to leave behind (She is such a trooper having to make this move and leave behind things. I don't know how she did it, how she continues to do the things she has to do but she does.  Amazing). So she bought a new easel for the boys to continue with their art.  It is an amazing piece and she was good at putting it all together despite having more help than she needed from  the boys.  Now they can paint and drawer to their hearts' content.

 I think the first project they made, or started to make, after I got there was huge cloud formation...made with balloons which will be covered with newspaper and then painted white and then stuck with fiberfil. This will be hung in their play area with rain drops falling.  Marissa is so creative and so willing to share her imagination with the boys.

Henry doesn't much like the feel of the mixture on his hands but made a valiant effort at the project.  Luckily the weather was nice enough to create this outside and for it to be able to dry outside as well.
Marissa liked an afghan I knitted and asked me to come reteach her how to knit. That was think of her knitting.  I love to knit but we didn't have a lot of time to secure the skill in her but I hope she works at this.
My sister,  Debi, drove from her home in Modesto, to Marissa's to spend the day with me. I suppose I could have driven to her house but I'd have had to drive Trefethen's hunk of a car but I didn't want it to break down on me...on Marissa, OK...just not on me.  This is the first time Debi and I have seen each other since Roger (bon papa) died in 2008.  That's a long time.  And it was fun to reconnect.  We have commented that unless we work harder at communication there will always be this void.  And that's not good.  I just recently heard some statement in a movie about how WE will be the only ones who remember mom, daddy, grandma, Parma, etc...and we cannot, must not, let this die before we die.

Marissa held our 2 cell phones together and just continued to snap a gazillion of pictures.  It was hysterical.  And we laughed at this. But it's Debi's stance and face that made my heart glad.  This is the Debi pose I have known all her life....

The boys wanted to make cinnamon rolls with me on Saturday and so we did. They are very comfortable in the kitchen and with dough...and they do enjoy my cinnamon rolls...altho Henry, oddly enough, does not like icing on his.

Even Simon got in on the rolling and buttering.  I think he's a very observant little kid and seems to be able to master whatever he's seen someone else do..and master it all in quick time!

We took a walk down the street to a park. Here's Oskar driving the bike over the bridge from one part of the play piece to the other.

Simon is so big now, so ready to walk the steps and try the various playground equipment.  When he left here on Easter, he had just learned to crawl up the one step from our family room to the kitchen. How fast children grow!  Not fair.

Here's Marissa, as ever comfortable on the cold ground, vigilantly watching the boys play.
Oskar can now push a chair or stool anywhere and get whatever he wants.
We cannot figure if he's more like Simon of the Chalk drawing show of yesteryear or Harry Potter.
Late Saturday afternoon we all went to McDonalds for dinner.  I don't think the kids ate this much at their own home!  Marissa is not a shopper nor a tourist so I had to be content to not shop, nor tour.  Actually there was only one place I wanted to see...the place where in 1976, 3 men had kidnapped a school bus filled with children/driver, drove them around all day and then put them into an underground container in Livermore...from which the driver successfully got all the kids out in quick time.  It was something like the Chowchilla kidnapping.  I know the place of the underground container was near a highway. And no there was no sign or plaque.  But I wanted to see it.  But we didn't.

We did go to Target one afternoon before picking up Henry.  I walk too slow for Marissa but at least we did hit one store. I was going to buy a heavy sweater only in CA there is no such thing. The closest thing was a vest that looked like something Sonny and Cher would have worn back in the day.  I skipped the idea.
But after McDonalds Hank suggested we drive down to the center of Livermore and man! How I wished I had known about this street. It was beautiful.  Twinkly lights in all the trees, fountains of several sorts and the most amazing stores, different stores.  I have determined that the next time I go to visit Trefethens I will have Marissa drop me off on this street and come back for me 3 hours later.  Oh the things I would have/could have bought!

Sunday morning I was determined to get a picture of all 5 of the family. Here's how it goes:

Finally....a picture I could print off when I got home...but they are all about the way this family rolls. Adorable!

Church was their ward conference which really was only 2 hours of meetings and the 3rd hour was a meet/greet linger longer situation. The children stayed in Primary unit the very end and then the curtains parted and these dear kids were all on the stage and sang to us.  

Oskar is 3rd from the left end, next to the girl holding out her skirt, and Henry is standing behind Oskar, every protective.  It was adorable.


Oskar is so good with Simon, so gentle and yet willing to show him the ropes of rough-housing.

Sunday night Marissa opted for a good ol' fashioned Sunday-night popcorn fest as we watched some movie on TV. It was crazy and the kids were tired but where there's popcorn there's antics and love and fun.  So much love and so much fun!

Sadly, I had to leave this dear family the next day, February 1st and return to Robert.  I sit here still and sigh with a melancholy of missing this family that used to live less than 30 minutes away, who asked to share Sunday meals with us, who included us in so many things...and this will never happen again. I ought to be happy I had that time with them in Lakewood but I am greedy and wish for more.

As I got packed up Henry felt I needed to take the bouquet of flowers that he greeted me with. But that wasn't possible but I did snip off these 3 colorful flowers and packed them.  They are stick to the wall behind the shelf above my computer here in the kitchen.  A fond reminder of a wonderful visit and a hope for another one.

1 comment:

Lin Floyd said...

no comments? I enjoyed hearing about your trip and can commiserate with not having family closer. I never see Frankie and family in Santa Fe, NM or Brook in Seattle unless I go to see them. Luckily Dan and jeff and families live in No. Utah...

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