Friday, February 6, 2009

Grandparents Day and a Great Birthday Weekend

The ride down to Baltimore went smoothly in more ways than one. Saul had a glitch in that he had forgotten he was supposed to help proctor an exam. We made arrangements for Agnes to arrive an hour later which still gave us plenty of time to get to Baltimore for dinner, but Larry came to our rescue and filled in for Saul so that he could leave without us having to rush. Agnes arrived at the train station right on time, too.

We went to pick up our friend, Natalie, who had a glitch of her own when she dropped her handbag at the bank and then couldn’t find her house key when she arrived home. A neighbor told the locksmith she had to catch a flight, and they were there within 10 minutes to jimmy her lock. Unfortunately, such emergencies are very expensive! Her daughter arrived with a second key just as the work was being completed, and on the way down to Baltimore, she had time to completely ransack her bag and finally found the original key which had fallen out of its special wallet.

We arrived (with precarious snowman cake intact) in Baltimore just in time to drop off Natalie at Jessica’s home to be picked up by her son, and drive the three miles to Karen and David’s home to join them for dinner at 5:30 p.m. I had told Ari I had no idea how long we would be there—if we would be discussing our teenage years, or catching up with 35 years of our lives until now. As it turned out, we did both. One of the blessings of living to be old is being able to look a long distance out to the horizon of your youth, knowing that all your experiences, both good and bad, have made you, and your friends, better and wiser people. They are truly wonderful and warm people who have learned from their adversities, or as David puts it, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” We learned that their twin girls each has a set of twins, and they appreciate the joy of being grandparents as much as we do. We had a good laugh about many of our memories, but David, evidently, has very little memory of me as a teenager, and was shocked that I had been there at many of the events we recalled. Saul, though, is hard to forget! They were good friends back then and we all lost track of each other shortly after we were married. Karen prepared a delicious meal—crudités and dip, wine, salad, jasmine rice, baked salmon with hollandaise, and roasted asparagus. For dessert, she made a tart and tasty key lime pie and we sampled cookies from the tray I had brought. Their home was lovely with a toasty fire going in the fireplace to warm us from the frigid weather.

We finally tore ourselves away and reached Ari’s home in DC by about 10 p.m. Ari was suffering from a bad cold and we all went to bed as soon as we arrived. Despite his cold, Ari went into work on Friday. We left right after him to attend Grandparents Day for Izzy at her daycare class. We were met in the sanctuary by Izzy’s other grandparents, Maury and Elaine, who were staying with Jess and Alex. The program was lovely, but we were shocked at the rude behavior of about two dozen of the grandparents, who, despite the pleas of the staff to back off, stood right in the middle of the aisle through the whole program with their cameras a few feet in front of the children, and blocked the view of every one of the hundreds of other grandparents who had come to see their grandchildren. The program back in the children’s individual classrooms was beautiful and short, and we took Izzy home afterwards. I snipped some branches from their rose bush clipping off the thorns to make arms for the snowman cake. Jessica made a banner from a piece of ribbon. Alex went shopping and then came home to prepare dinner. Jessica, Elaine, Saul and I took Izzy to have a light lunch at Cosi. Maury went to buy a new pair of sneakers. Alex made an amazing dinner, as usual—miso soup, seared tuna and avocado salad, and many trays of assorted sushi. We had the leftover carob cake, which had been in the freezer and the experimental sesame snowball cookies for dessert.

During the weekend, Ari decided to test drive some of the new models he had seen at the DC Auto Show. After several hours at a Mercedes dealer in Tyson’s Corner, they made him an offer he could not refuse. Ari and I drove home in his new Mercedes while Saul drove the Prius. We went to Ruby Tuesday in Columbia Heights for a really late dinner around 10 p.m. that evening, but Ari was thrilled with his new toy and the deal he had gotten.

Sunday morning, we headed out early to pick up dry ice in Glen Burnie, MD, for making honey and maple candy at the party, and grabbed a quick breakfast at a Royal Farms nearby. By now, I had begun to catch the full-blown cold that Ari had, so during the party, I kept my distance from everyone. Jessica had set up a number of craft stations for the 25 children and some of their parents who attended. At one station the children decorated cupcakes with Oreo cookies and dried apricots to make penguins and polar bears. At another, they knotted penguin scarves and decorated paper handled bags in which to carry their items with assorted stickers that made various snowmen and penguins. They made snowmen out of mini powdered sugar donuts, marshmallows, mini pretzel sticks, and food color markers. At another station they decorated knitted hats with felt cutouts to make more penguins to match the scarves. At another station in the kitchen, they rolled the sesame snowball cookies. And at yet another station in the kitchen, they made honey and maple sugar candy by dripping it into holes in the dry ice and inserting toothpicks to remove it. After everyone had rotated through all the stations, we sang happy birthday to Izzy, served them their cupcakes with ice cream cups, and cut the snowman cake. I don’t know how it was possible, but the whole pandemonium really did take only the two hours allotted.

Saul and I drove home with Natalie, who was dropped off early and helped with the party, in the Prius, which I love and which will now become our second car. We left our SUV for Jessica to bring home when she visits next weekend. Ari is flying to San Francisco on business from Wednesday through Friday and will drive up to join us after that. Then he will drive them home next weekend. Natalie treated us to dinner at Bahama Breeze in King of Prussia to thank us for taking her to visit her family, and we had a wonderful time there also.

Unfortunately, by late Sunday evening, I developed the full-blown cold with fever. I managed to work for a few hours yesterday, and again this morning, but I can feel the fever rising as I finish this. I went in to Mom’s room briefly with a surgical mask yesterday, but I have decided we will both be better off if I keep my distance. Saul looks in on her morning, afternoon, and evening, and gave her soup and aspirin yesterday. He checked on her to make sure she had everything she needed this morning before going off to work. This afternoon, Adele arrived to look after things for a while and I am looking forward to putting my fevered head back on the pillow. Today is Saul’s sixty-second birthday, and I just hope I can keep from giving him this unpleasant gift.

1 comment:

sabasenders said...

Saul is thankful that he did not get the cold so far. He will keep pouring ginger tea with honey into Mar. ;-)

the weekend was incredible!