Monday, August 22, 2011

Family visits

Pin It I know this is long overdue, but here is my attempt to recap all of the wonderful NY visits this summer...

Not too long after starting work, Brice was sent to Germany during the last week of June. I decided to use this opportunity to visit my family in upstate New York, now only about five hours away! I left on Friday the 24th after procuring a desk off of craigslist and hauling it piece by piece up from the car to our third-floor apartment. (This blog post comes to you now from said desk, which I am, obviously, very proud of)

Arriving only slightly later than I hoped, I had a nice evening with my grandmother and then lunch the next day with my cousin Katie who stopped by on her way to a wedding. Mimi and I visited her brother and his wife, my Uncle John & Aunt Carm, and had a wonderful meal with them. Aunt Carm is a wonderful cook. I took Mimi to church on Sunday and then to get gas and to Walmart. Wary of the afternoon's weather, we decided to chance it and drive up to Saratoga to where she and Papa lived when they were first married. We walked around a little and Mimi got her first taste of gelato.

I got to see my Aunt Betty (my mom's sister) Monday afternoon when she returned from the Cape. She is glowing 24/7 now that she is retired :-) I left around seven for Coxsackie to see my Aunt Sue (my dad's sister). We had a late dinner at local restaurant and then a nice chat over wine back at her house. She lost her husband in April after a relatively short period of illness. Brice and I were unable to make the memorial service, so I was glad to be able to spend some time with her. We went to a water aerobics class in the morning and then did some kayaking. It was my first time and I loved it. Now all I need is a lake house, kayak, and paddle... I left in the late afternoon to head back to Albany. I met Mimi at my Aunt Betty & Uncle Pat's house for a delicious dinner of Cornell chicken, burgers, salads, and deviled eggs.

I spent some time again with Aunt Carm the next day for help with my knitting. I'm no big knitter and I have no idea how to start or finish, but I can do the part in between and make you a nice scarf. She taught me how to finish and even gave me some yarn in the hope that maybe I could make something besides a scarf :-) Aunt Betty and I went on a shopping expedition in search of an IKEA that turned out to not exist, but we went on to hit a Macy's, Talbots, and oh yeah, an ice cream stand. (The Schultz family feels most occasions call for ice cream.)

On my last night Mimi offered to treat me to dinner and I picked UNO's--this sounded like a good idea to Uncle Pat, so he and Aunt Betty joined us. All in all, a very nice visit.

A couple of weeks later, I returned to "God's country". Brice was again out of town for the week (this time in NY), but it was my second week of orientation. I drove up to Poughkeepsie on Friday and picked him up from the train station and we drove the rest of the way together to Aunt Betty and Uncle Pat's. They treated us to a great pizza dinner and then we figured that what this night needed was...yes, ice cream. They took us to a great spot they'd taken us before with outdoor seating and live music.

The main event was on Saturday. My Aunt Sue had organized a memorial barbecue fundraiser for the Epilepsy Foundation for which my uncle had been a board member. My parents were there already from their summer visit and we got to see two of my cousins (Katrina and Timmy), my Aunt Judith and Uncle Paul, and lots of other great aunts and uncles and my dad's cousins. We tried to stay in the shade or water as much as possible since it was unbelievably hot. Disappointingly, the pool water wasn't as refreshing as I would have liked and apparently the lake was warmer. I got to kayak twice, once with my cousin Katrina to bring the kayaks from the marina to the beach, and once with Brice and Tim. It was a long day, so we headed home and went to bed early.

Sunday was my mom's birthday, so her wonderful sister and brother-in-law hosted a huge Irish breakfast. They bought all the meats at an Irish grocery store at the Cape and we had boiling bacon, black and white pudding, bangers, tomatoes, eggs, and muffins. It was quite an impressive spread. We all headed home shortly after.

I got my last visit of the summer the first week in August. Brice was off to Germany again, so I was off to NY. I spent my first night with Aunt Sue to accompany her to an appointment in the morning. She treated me to dinner at a local Italian place where I had a fantastic burger and we split one of those chocolate cakes with the liquid chocolate inside--you know what I'm talking about. Just try to not think about it. We happened to bump into her (and my dad's--funny how that works) cousin. A funny experience for me, as I told her I have only ever seen family on purpose. After her appointment in the morning, she treated me to breakfast at Friendly's. We visited a bit more back at her house and had lunch before I headed out.

I had a nice dinner with Mimi and visited with Aunt Betty and Uncle Pat. I asked Aunt Betty to give me a hand with picking out fabric and designing the quilt I am making for our niece- or nephew-to-be. She invited me over the next day to look at her "stash" and then we brainstormed and headed out to a fabric store. I can't reveal any details since it's a surprise, but I'll post pictures when the time comes. That night she and Uncle Pat treated me to a concert at a local historical home. They have a kind of Wednesday night concert series with different cultural music. It was Irish music night and German food night. I met some friends of Uncle Pat's and had a very nice time. The bonus was that James Taylor was in the crowd enjoying the same concert as me. No one else was bugging him so I figured I'd leave him alone too, so no pictures or autographs.

Since I hadn't been able to see my Aunt Janet (my mom's other sister) or my cousins on my previous visits, I'd set aside Thursday for them. I headed out Thursday morning with excitement. About an hour later, it was like someone let the air out of my tires. Because someone had. (Come on folks, that was funny.) My right rear tire made a distinctive tha-thump tha-thump and I knew I had a flat. I called my Aunt Janet who said she could come out with my cousin Jimmy and we could change it together or call AAA. I told her I'd try Aunt Betty, who was closer at that point and see if she could call AAA. Her phone was busy so I thought I'd give it five minutes, when I hear a voice behind me ask, "You have a spare?" And there, like angels from heaven were two strapping twenty-something men in a red pick-up truck, faded jeans, work boots, plaid shirts, and baseball caps. The men they say live for this. They went right to work and changed the tire in about ten minutes. As I assumed, they wouldn't take anything for their time, but I told all the men in my life this: If you see a woman stranded, stop and help her. It could be those guys wife, sister, mother, or cousin. As I told Jimmy, even if you've never changed a tire, your being there will be helpful.

And then I was off again. I got to spend time with Aunt Janet and three of my cousins, Katie, Hannah, and Jimmy and then I went with Katie to drop Hannah off at work. I went for a walk with Jimmy and his goats when we got back, spent some time with Stephen when he got home, and had a long chat with Katie when she got home again. Aunt Janet took me to her mechanic who plugged my tire and didn't charge me a thing. We all had a great dinner of chili and cornbread and a fantastic homemade blueberry pie. (My aunt is a great cook who does so effortlessly.)

I left for home the next morning and had an evening alone until Brice got back the next day. They were great visits and I hope to get up once again in the fall. It's amazing to me how close they are now. The best part about Delaware, by far.

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