Thursday, 8 January 2009

Reporting back from three weeks stateside

This is most easily done in the form of lists I think. Lets start with what seemed most important: food. The number of meals I declined to count, as they were more than three a day if you include snacks (of which there were many), but, in addition to eating chez les in-laws, we ate at:

  • the brother in-law's (Christmas Day = 27 people, Boxing Day)

  • the aunt's (New Year's Day = 13 people); and, in order,

  • Culver's (on the drive to Wisconsin), where I was culverized

  • MacDonald's (on the drive back from Wisconsin)

  • Perkins (which was a little less than mediocre)

  • Dynasty Buffet (Chinese all you can eat, which I don't particularly care for)

  • Ruby Tuesdays (my choice, it has a good salad bar)

  • International House of Pancakes (a breakfast meal following a mass on New Year's Eve)

  • Lone Star Steak House (to get the boy a steak)
Whilst we mostly stayed at my parents-in-law's condominium, we also visited:
  • their house in Wisconsin

  • the brother-in-law's house (or mansion, since, as the boy likes to point out, it has pillars)

  • the Grandma's house several times

  • an Aunt's house once

  • and the duplex of the Grandpa's girlfriend several times
  • Further we went to a number of church services, and took in three churches, viz:

    • the first Sunday (although on TV from a chapel in La Crosse, as the roads were too bad to drive in Wisconsin)

    • Christmas Eve (at St. Vincent's, the usual church for this trip)

    • the second Sunday

    • New Year's Eve twice (once a mass said for the repose of the soul of the deceased Grandpa, once for the vigil of the Solemnity of Mary, both at St. Philomena's)

    • the third Sunday

    I learnt two ditties, both the eldest and youngest female members of the clan; respectively:

    • I'm old and grey and have lost my way, and all my tomorrows are yestersdays (a repeated refrain), and

    • a, b, c, d, e, 1, 2, 3, Thank you Lord for feeding me (the timing of which should require little explanation)

    I also witnessed plenty of weather (as well as plenty of worrying over said weather), including:

    • an ice storm (which put the kaibosh on a intended jaunt out to eat at Hometown Buffet for the father-in-law's birthday)

    • plenty of snow (leading to plenty of sledging until I finally impaled myself too painfully on a tree to continue)and cold temperatures (down to -25 C)

    • and a tornado warning (not that I knew it was a tornado warning at the time, being out by myself and hearing what sounded like air-raid sirens).

    And finally, in a list of one, I went to a New Year's Eve dance with the aforesaid Grandpa and girlfriend (aged 88 and 91 respectively) at a Senior Citizens' Centre somewhere in central IL. Undoubtedly the highlight of the trip.

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