Sunday, July 12, 2009

Family fun, pandemonium, and the long road home

Pandemonium reigned at the Hudgeons' household in Austin when about 55 adults and children gathered to celebrate Sawyer's fifth birthday. They were in and out of the pool, traipsing through the house to the potty (I was impressed that so many used the potty and didn't pee in the pool), and grabbing pizza and drinks. I confess I spent much of the time inside--Austin ws miserably hot like most of Texas--visiting some with Sawyer's other grandmother, some with friends who wandered by, and some with people I'd never met. At pizza time, most of the Alter clan--15 of us, missing only Christian--seemed to end up inside, which was fun. And then after everyone left, Sawyer shed his swimsuit and in the buff began to open presents. Then again it was pandemoniuim, and I commented to Jamie that our family sure was noisy when they get together. "Are you just now noticing?" he asked. By 9:45 I thought it was midnight and went upstairs to my lair in the trees (about which all the kids are curious), read e-mails, finished a mystery, and had another glass of wine. But the other grownups stayed up by the pool until almost 2 a.m.--and some showed it this morning.
There were quiet moments. Austin's mornings are cool and blessedly bug-free (mosquitoes soon come out in full force), and I sat on the porch by the pool with a book and coffee, watching my younger grandchildren play--they were exiled outside so they wouldn't wake sleeping adults. Sure, they squabbled, but for the most part they shared, laughed, and played well together. Eventually everyone but a couple of adults, including me, ended back in the pool, eating pizza for lunch while they swam. Melanie, bless her, had made a run to Starbucks and stopped for ham and bread, so I had a sandwich--pizza is not on my diet. I sat on the porch and thought how blessed I am with children and grandchildren. I seem to have a pretty good relationship with all of them, though some of the younger grandchildren that I see less often are a bit uncertain. Kegan, 2, from Houston, will come up and talk to me and give me things to hold but he won't sit on my lap, and his three-year-old sister turns shy when I ask for a kiss, though she gave me a nice going-away hug. I can't imagine how one woman can get so lucky to have four wonderful children, all of whom married wonderful people, and produced beautiful and sweet children. Me, prejudiced? Naw, it's all true.
Jordan, Jaob and I left about 1:15 for what proved to be the long road home. We had to pull off a couple of times, once in Temple because Jordan and Jacob needed hamburgers. When we pulled back on, traffic was suddenly bumper to bumper and stayed that way until we turned west at Hillsboro. And Jordan had to stop at West for sausage. The traffic would be bumper to bumper, 20 mph, and then for no reason pick up to 60 mph and move along nicely, then back to creeping. I told Jordan I felt like I was on Amtrak--slow down, start up, slow down, stop. It took us over 5 hours to get to my house--should be 3 hours on a good day. Fortunately Jordan and I travel well together (Jacob did well until the last hour of the trip when he was pretty much replaced by this whiny child I didn't recognize--though sometimes the Jacob I knew came back briefly). Jordan put my bags on the porch and headed home--no time for even bringing them inside. We were all exhausted, but it was a wonderful weekend.
And we'll do it all over again next weekend when they'll all be in Fort Worth, celebrating my retirement and birthday.
I went quite a bit over my Weight Watchers daily points this weekend (didn't use up all my weekly bous points though) needless to say but I noticed that I ate a lot differently than I would have before I started the program--this morning when others were having cereal, etc. I had a small thing of yogurt. Yesterday I had about 2 Tbsp. of eggs instead of a big helping. And surely my ham sandwich was less points that two pizzas. Saturday night I ate one piece of Margarita pizza which I figured I could count as thin-crust cheese and only about 1/4 of a small piece of cake. The proof will come tomorrow when I weigh.
Three days of work this week, and then I'm retired. I think I feel great about it but of course there's lingering doubt. And it may not hit me until next Tuesday when I wake up and the kids are all gone and I really have to plan the rest of my life. But I do have a lot of irons in the fire, and I'm hopeful. Plus closets and files and bookshelves that really are over-run and need sorting. And friends to have lunch with. It may be what they way is true, retirement can be the busiest time of your life.

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