Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Maiden Voyage

Hi all...after being critical of last week's bloggers, I have fallen down on the job.  And it's been a really wonderful week.  But as "my" house is quiet (kids are with grandma Janet and grandpa Steve), here I sit.  I'm starting with two of my favorite pictures, especially after reading Michael Gerson's piece on dropping his son off at's coming faster than a runaway train, and I'm trying to at least run along side it.

Many, many people, close friends and absolute strangers, have questioned my sanity this year, taking off of work, traveling in such a small
car with these three boys, jumping into the abyss of not knowing what's coming next.  So far, next is filled with daily micromoments of bliss, in beautiful places, with wonderful people.  We have the same money arguments we always did, the kids still need to be asked multiple times to clean up after themselves.  But daily, I am grateful.  I am grateful for these two littlish boys who not only kiss and hug me, and tell me they love me, but I am grateful they have each other.  They've made up a term called "BLEO," which stands for Brothers Love Each Other.  As you can tell, they've become wonderful companions on this adventure.

As for that small car and tent trailer...
We took 'er out on her maiden voyage this
weekend to Whidbey Island, where my beloved Aunt Billie and Uncle Leo live.  Aunt B is my mom's oldest sister; a bonus of spending time with these absolutely wonderful people is the way Aunt B looks, talks, and moves like my mom.  I haven't heard her voice in so long, it's a joy to hear stories of her as a child and imagine her at this age.

Here is G pulling the Go for the first time out my sister's garage.
Here we are, all loaded up and ready to hit the road.  I cannot speak highly enough of audio books.  The ride up and back was all Guys Read: The Sports Pages (hey Michael Sheehan: you must listen to the final story with Benjamin!).

Math lesson for Des on this trip: figuring out how many miles we drove, how many miles to the gallon we got, and how much we paid per mile.  We might let him use a calculator.
Here we are waiting for the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island.  Please note the "little" camper in front of us.  We had quite a few visitors asking us about this contraption.  I met a guy from Mississippi who was an RPCV from Liberia in the 60's, before Mar' and Lar' Pearmine went there.  Small world.
This is the view from the deck of Aunt B's place, the lagoon and Penn Cove in the distance.  Yep.  The boys had a fabulous time in the little paddle boat tied up.  Luckily, living in China had given us a lot of experience of manning such vessels.  Only this time, there was no smoking, no one yelling "hello babies!" at the kids, paddling over to us to get a closer look.  It was, as the picture conveys, serene.  And sublime.
Gar took this maiden voyage thing seriously.  We slept in that thar tent, ate breakfast in there.  He cooked eggs on the new campstove, the whole deal.  Here are the boys and my cousin Carrie's grandgirls (4 gingers in one space!) having some Cherrios and delightful conversation, I'm sure.
 The highlight for the boys is always Uncle Leo. A retired sea captain with great stories, a bottomless love of children, and a love of adventure, Leo takes the boys into the woodshop, where all kinds of fun and misdeeds can happen. As Leo's vision and hearing aren't what they used to be, I asked uncle Rick to supervise as well (as I am confident I would ruin the fun).  They made some wood art, and Des and Leo made a stool.  Great fun with saws of all sorts, nail guns, and I don't want to know what else.
 Okay, we didn't eat EVERY meal in the tent.  Why would you when you could have this view?
 Here's where we slept.  We kept the window open, and the moon shown through.  It was amazing.  The breeze, the kingfishers, the sun and moon through the trees.  Safe to say, maiden voyage was a success.
Uncle Rick and Emmy are enjoying the view of the lagoon by the fire.  Emm said "you know, mom, Uncle Rick and dad are a lot alike.  They are both really calm and totally crazy."  I explained the really calm is a necessity when marrying a Pearmine girl, to which Rick heartily agreed.

Leo and Billie took us all out to dinner at Zorba's.  Fabulous people there, good food; they take care of the old Greek and his lovely wife, and would likely call to check on them if they missed one of their regular visits.

As we talked about our three good things by the fire, the view, and time with Aunt B and Uncle Leo, were the top of everyone's list.  And the ice cream.
Dear Leo, how we love you.  He's showing Des the ole' missing thumb trick as we pull away.  He can't get enough of the kids.  Leo always help me reset my priorities.  He is one of the most loving, fun, present people I know, and I've enjoyed every minute I've ever been around him.  And he'll outlive us all, at this rate.

We're under two weeks till takeoff, and getting excited.  AND enjoying late summer in Portland (or regular summer, I guess), with wonderful food, visits from grandparents, movies, roller derby and Trek in the Park this weekend, and who knows what else.  Can't wait for every day.