Monday, July 07, 2008

Partings and reunions.

July 1, my Staker Grandparents left to return to Arizona. It was kind of heartbreaking. Grandpa’s health isn’t too good, and they keep saying they’ll probably never come back to Iowa. I may never see him again. I know there are never any guarantees, and we can never take it for granted that we’ll see a loved one again, but it’s hard. I almost started crying as I hugged them goodbye. I spent the rest of the day on chores like laundry and dishes. Dad and I kind of fought because he snapped at me when I helped him sort sheep. It bothered me, because it made me feel sad and frustrated, like a child. Later he felt bad, kind of apologized and changed his behavior.

On Thursday Dad and I helped J.B. and Erika move from Newton to their new house in Bondurant. It was hard work, but it was nice to help. We took Dad’s stock trailer and helped them fill it up, along with their moving truck. It was challenging, but we managed to get everything there in one trip. Erika and her sister, April, made some great goulash. Unfortunately, I ripped my second-best jeans and my shin in the moving process. Their housing development in Newton had placed wooden posts here and there around the lawns to keep people from parking on them. With my arms full of boxes, I didn’t see one. Owwwwww. J.B. was very sympathetic: “Ripped jeans are in, so…you’re welcome.” Hee. Love you, too, J.B. Dad and I saw some fireworks on the drive home, and arrived there exhausted.

My uncle Jim was supposed to arrive July 3. He didn’t. July 4, Mom and I went to Perry for a parade where I raked in the candy. I didn’t want to deprive any children, so I only picked up sweets that were clearly thrown directly to me. Upon seeing my haul, Dad commented, “It must have been big boys throwing the candy.” Heh. I was wearing a cute sundress, but replied, “I think I just that I smile and wave.” That night we stayed in and watched the Washington Pops special. At one point, Jim had specifically mentioned wanting to see fireworks. Well, at 11 p.m. Jim called saying he’d seen fireworks and was now almost to our farm… just two days late. We were all in bed, but we dragged ourselves out of bed to welcome Jim and my cousin Darren. Darren got the short end of the stick and ended up on the fold-out couch with its torturous spring-ridden mattress. Poor guy.

Saturday was the Kiley reunion as Saylorville Lake, where we ran into Jim’s other son Sean and his girlfriend Kasey (Casey?), my Kiley grandparents, Grandma Carol, Uncle Tom, his sons Matt and Brandon, their girlfriends Nikki and Nicole (I have no idea which is which) and Brandon’s daughters (the most recent of which, if I understand correctly, was a complete surprise…like my-stomach-hurts-What?-I’m-giving-birth?-type surprise. How does that happen? Oh, well. The baby’s cute).

After the reunion, Grandma Carol, Jim and his kids all came back to our place. We talked for hours, especially about genealogy. Kasey and I bonded over books. Sean does computer animation, and he showed us some of his work. Darren is quieter than Sean, but if you’re right next to him you can hear him crack great jokes.

Grandma camped out in one guest room, Jim in another, and Darren was again on the torture couch. He and I covered it with couch cushions, which helped a little, but Mom and I decided to buy an air mattress to use with the fold-out couch in the future.

The next morning, Sean and Kasey came back to the farm and we all had breakfast together. It was fun. One by one, people took off. Darren was in a car with no AC and bad windshield wipers. He and I took some time to apply RainX to his windshield because rain was predicted. Then we sent him on his way. As he was leaving, some of Grandma’s friends appeared. I was all visitored-out, so I excused myself for some alone time. I don't know how Mom does it! Unkie jokes that he's making her a sign that says "Kiley's Bed and Breakfast."

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