Friday, March 13, 2009

Great grandparents, and a return to Virginia

Sunday, I'd planned to go visit my wonderful grandparents. My dad was even going to come with me. The weather was not on our side, though. The temperature had been dropping steadily since I arrived in Iowa. Northern Iowa was icy. In Woodward (where our farm is), it started out rainy. The rain turned to sleet, then hail, then snow. Days ago, I was sitting in the 70-degree sun. Then, in a few hours the ground was white. Iowa's weird like that.

Since we couldn't travel, I spent half of the day filling Mom's new mp3 player (a generic iPod) with music and half the day helping Dad on the farm, mainly just filling buckets with water. It was actually fun to spend time with him and see the lambs bounce around. Then we went to Unkie's house to take care of our sheep there. (Some have been living there ever since the tornado.) I quickly popped into the house to say hello and get a last round of hugs.

I had rescheduled my visit with my grandparents for Tuesday, but Monday I woke up to weather predictions of an ice storm on Tuesday. I decided to head up there while the going was good. Grandma Carol and Grandpa Kenny met me halfway by coming to Algona, where we had lunch at the Pizza Ranch. Grandpa even cancelled a doctor's appointment because he wanted to see me. Aw!

We sat and talked for hours until we were the last ones in the place. The woman who ran the place didn't mind. I also gave them their Christmas presents, as our gathering was canceled for weather at Christmas, too. It would have been nice to spend more time together, but it was a short trip to Iowa. I didn't even get to see my friends, which was the biggest bummer of the whole trip. (I should have gotten the Pizza Ranch lady to take our picture. I forgot to, so I had to dig out the pictures at left from the summer of 2006!)

After leaving my Gilbaugh grandparents, I got together with my Kiley grandparents (their picture is from summer 2007). Grandpa Russell had been in the hospital for heart trouble. It was very stressful for Grandma Lenora, who collapsed and broke her leg. It's been hard on her, maybe it's kind of a blessing.

You see, Grandma is supposed to stay off her feet and rest. Grandpa is supposed to move around and get exercise. This way, he has to move around to help her. When I arrived, he made me a cup of tea. We chatted while they opened their Christmas presents. At supper time, I volunteered to cook, and made egg sandwhiches for us all. Then I hit the road again, trying to get home before the weather turned.

Tuesday, I tried to catch up on my reading while my parents were at work. Then, I helped Dad with farm work again, filling buckets, moving sheep, and helping Dad to build a new pen. It was cold that day, the temperature plummeting fast. At one point, Mac (the border collie) dropped a ball at my feet, and I stepped on it, sloshing cold water down my leg. I tell you, that is not fun when it's below freezing. I eventually went in to change and get warmer gloves. Nonetheless, by the time Dad and I were done, I was ready to go in and have hot chocolate (though I did linger in the garage for a bit to play fetch with Mac). Mom brought home Chinese take-out, which really hit the spot. Then it was time to pack.

Wednesday morning, I was up before 6 a.m., gathering up my stuff and getting ready to fly home. I even had time to mix up replacer and feed the lambs. I gave my dad hugs and kisses before he went to work. Then Mom and I hit the road. It was 8 degrees F when we said our goodbyes at the airport. My flight was delayed by hours, and I was told I'd have to get a 5 p.m. flight from Detroit to Norfolk. When we got to Detriot at 2, I decided to give it a shot, and ran for my original 1:50 flight to Virginia...which I managed to catch. Boo-yah! I was cozy in my apartment before 5 p.m., and because I'd only used carryon luggage, all my stuff made it, too. It was gorgeous out, 70 degrees and sunny.

Of course, by the next morning the temperature had fallen 25 degrees. Today it is cool and rainy. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm a bad-weather magnet. Oh, well. Maybe that will help me focus on my studies.

P.S. I've done pretty well with my Lenten goals, but I slipped today and posted a new Facebook profile pic. Because I usually wear glasses, I've been wanting a profile picture of me in glasses. The thing is, I usually don't wear my glasses in pictures because there's alway a glare. Well, on my trip home, someone snapped a good one, so I decided to post it. It took less than a minute, but my friends were quick to call me on it. Todd even chastized me from London. Isn't Facebooking while on a trip to London as bad as cheating on a Lenten fast? Okay, maybe not. Sigh. What can I say? I'm weak. Well, their teasing scorn has strengthened my resolve. I can do better, and I will!

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