Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tales From the Road, Chapter Two

Thursday

After a somewhat difficult bedtime late the night before, at which time we’d given up on making Quinn sleep in the playpen and let him sleep with us, we wake up to find Sam sleeping contentedly in said crib.

We decided to go out for breakfast, and when Jack grimaced and whimpered when we tried to force his tiny shoes onto his giant feet, we decided that we’d go buy him some shoes too. We found a Target only to have Jack find the only pair of shoes he wanted. In a size 11 and a half. And although that would have given us a good couple of years before we had to buy him more shoes, we decided it would work out better if we got the nine or nine and a half he really needed. Of course, he didn’t like any of those shoes. And when you try to force something Jack doesn’t like onto Jack… Well, the whole store heard about it. We finally found a nice pair of all black sneakers that he decided was adequate.

Onward to the next shoe debacle. For his birthday, my mom had given Quinn a pair of Crocs that were, unfortunately, a size too small. We had brought them with us in hopes of finding a Hallmark store at which we could exchange them for the right size. While the mall in Sandusky, Ohio, does have a play area for the kids to play in, the Hallmark store does not carry Crocs. But the Macy’s there does. A short walk and a tiny bit of fraud later and Quinn’s red size 6-7s were exchanged for a navy blue pair of 7-8s. Or so I thought. When I got back to the play area, I discovered that the shoes were size 8-9 and HUGE. So I went back. Fortunately, this time I had a receipt! Unfortunately it seems that size 7-8 Crocs don’t exist. So I exchanged the navy blue ones for some bright orange 8-9s. And then I finally left the nicest clerk at the Sandusky Macy’s in peace. (No matter the size, Quinn adores the shoes, telling strangers, “Orange ones! Orange ones!”)

Alex’s mom, who missed her flight to Cleveland, called us at 11:15 a.m. to tell us that she had just arrived at the Chicago airport. Unfortunately, her flight from Chicago had landed in Cleveland 45 minutes earlier at 10:30. We were, however, able to collect her in time for the 3 p.m. memorial service.

We got to the funeral home just after 2 p.m. When he walked in, an awed Jack looked at the grandiose setting and the flower-patterned carpet and exclaimed, “It’s Mystery Manor!” All semblance of decorum fell to the wayside as Sam and Jack (and copycat Quinn) set about wrestling in and running around what they saw as The Backyardigans’ haunt.

The service itself was really nice with many of the people there standing up to say nice things about Alex’s grandfather. Alex talked about what his grandfather had meant to him, and after her last-second arrival, Alex’s mom read a very touching speech about him that she had written. His nephew spoke, friends spoke, former co-workers spoke, even his former real estate agent had cared enough to come and speak. This man was definitely someone who knew how to make friends, something Alex pointed out in his talk.

The children were not super well-behaved, but a very nice woman who worked at the funeral home took care of them for much of the service, and several people commented on how it was nice to see them there regardless. Because if there was one thing Alex’s grandfather loved, it was his family: Alex, Sam, Jack, Quinn; his nephew and his wife, who lived nearby and spent a lot of time with him; and his brother, who lives in Virginia.

As Alex is the executor of the estate and had to deal with a lot of the difficult logistical things, the memorial service was a really nice time for him to be able to put all that aside and remember his grandfather, whom he loved very much.

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and letting the kids enjoy their grandma, who had brought cake and toys. Perhaps most excitingly, she had brought toy tongs with little lights in them that were meant to pick up gummy caterpillars and make them glow. The kids LOVED them, but I’m afraid the people who buy that condo next will be finding little yellow and red gummies for months.

Oh, and the heretofore unobjectionable dog? Yeah, she escaped. Seeing as how we were in Ohio, I was convinced that we would never see her again. Yet somehow she made her way back all by herself. Then all I had to do was track Alex down and relieve him of his dog-hunting duties.

Shortly thereafter, Quinn started to puke and laundry ensued.

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