Sunday, December 21, 2008

Trips Past and Future

Snowy Wilbur
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
This post took me, what, about a week to write, sigh…

I'll be out of the office for 16 whole days in a row. Ahhh. Sadly, it already feels like that won't be enough time for all of the slacking off I need to accomplish, but hope springs eternal.

Transportation with a little weather thrown in was the only drama that marred the otherwise wonderful trip up to Washington to see Grandma. The night before my trip, I was leaving work late and the Monster Mobile told me that it didn't recognize my key and so was disabling the starter because it might be a theft. How thoughtful! An hour and several calls to M and AAA later, the tow truck driver broke the news that he'd tried everything he could to no avail, so drug us home. I ended up having to rent a car the next morning to drive to Sacramento where I was meet Felicia to fly to Spokane after a series of delays that included circling the airport while they snow-plowed the runway where we rented another car to drive to Wilbur in snowy-ish conditions. But aside from arriving later than we planned, too late to see Grandma that day, it all worked out just fine. Particularly since I left the Cadillac for M to deal with on my behalf--such a good husband.

Felicia and I awoke to the quiet chill of a snow filled morning, sky as pale as the blanketed ground. I remembered to give the car plenty of time to warm up--which it needed inside and out since some of the frozen stuff had worked its way into the car during the night. I was grateful that the thoughtful team at Thrifty had put an ice scraper in the rental car. Thanks to the weather, this was the first visit to Wilbur where I drove literally everywhere. For instance, the first morning, I forewent my traditional cake doughnut from Sandy's at the other end of town for a full breakfast at the Rendezvous, the place just across the highway from the Settle Inn because it was much closer and on the way to Grandma's--as if any place isn't in the small town that is Wilbur.

We headed up to see Grandma after breakfast and had a great morning with her. She has so many stories to tell and it was just really good to catch up with her. After lunch at the Billy Burger, Felicia and I drove up to the cemetery, but seeing the unplowed paths, we chose the better part of valor and retreated rather than going in. On the way back down the hill, we slipped around on the road a bit, which frankly freaked me out a scoche--the idea of getting stuck in a ditch and/or injured in a small, snow-covered town far from home, heat, and quality healthcare was niggling at me throughout the weekend. But that turned out to be the worst of it. Before the afternoon visit with Grandma, we hit the department store, looking to support the local economy as much as we could, and were greeted by Santa. Who of course turned out to be married to one of our cousins.

Back at Grandma's we chatted more while I kept an eye on the snow swirling and drifting up against the curbs and buildings. Since I wasn't in Wilbur alone, niece and I braved The Alibi for dinner. I'd always been curious about the place--the town's lone bar--but never had the personal fortitude to push open the door and pull up a stool amongst the locals on my own. All of the other restaurants were closed on the weekend, so The Alibi was hopping, mostly with diners rather than drinkers, which was nice. After dinner we hunkered down in the hotel room. Ah, television--pleasant in small doses.

Our final breakfast was a two-parter--I finally secured my cake doughnut, though had to settle for one topped with chocolate. I swung by Doxie's to get Felicia (on foot--dang it was chilly stomping through the snow for ten yards or so) and found her at the center of conversation with some of the local guys who were in having their coffee. She and the judge were chatting it up. He had operated the racetrack in town years ago and had known her dad--in fact, had taught him how to jump motorcycles back in his youth.

We had another morning of reminiscing with Grandma, looking a pictures and just talking about things, watching the Lutheran church parking lot fill up. It was hard to leave, as always. The highway back to Spokane was mostly clear, though the drifting snow scudding across it like a white sand desert made it a bit ominous for me. We had time for a quick lunch at the airport then flew home uneventfully to a deluge in Sacramento, which thankfully lessened as I drove westward and the sky darkened. Ice, rain, and all, in addition to being with Grandma again, it was really wonderful having a little adventure with my niece.

We leave for So. Cal. tomorrow morning, returning on Saturday. We don't have any formal activities planned at this point other than socializing with M's family and friends, but I'm thinking of possibilities: Huntington Botanical Garden. Forest Lawn to see my maternal grandpa's grave. Getty Museum. Venice beach. Of course, if this wonderful precipitation keeps up, it might be movies and the mall for five days straight, but that would be OK, we really need it.

In other news: Holiday cards are out, shopping mostly done (I did scale it back this year, though felt silly spending half an hour in line at the PO for just one small package). Had a nice time at the Box today with M and the writers group gals. Veronica is using her cat ladder all on her own. It took awhile--even after she started using it regularly, she would still yell at me and I would have to lead her to it and only then would she realize that she could climb up by herself. But she's gotten the hang of it and it really has cut down on her demanding yowling significantly, thank goodness. I picked up the last of my glass fusing projects from my teacher and got to see her garage-studio for myself, which was quite illuminating.

Happy Solstice! Looking forward to the light. I need it.


At 6:36 AM, December 22, 2008, Blogger bren said...

What was your glass teacher's garage like?

At 8:08 AM, December 22, 2008, Blogger elm said...

Your glass is beautiful Suz. Thank you for the wonderful account of your good and adventurous trip to Wilbur. I think of that part of the country fondly, the waving wheat as far as you can see. Well, snow.

We have a huge amount of snow also. It is up to my knee. And it is 10 degrees. Kalyani gets on the tractor and plows our driveway as well as hers. We are grateful!

Forest lawn. wow! How do you find THE grave site?

At 6:56 PM, December 22, 2008, Blogger Michelle said...

Glad you had a safe trip, and a good visit with Grandma. The connections to people in Wilbur always crack me up, no anonymous strangers there.

At 5:30 AM, December 29, 2008, Blogger Nancy said...

That sounded like a great experience for you and your niece. Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, etc.


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