Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Weekend in Grand Rapids

Some friends of ours invited the Young Couples Flock to come join them in Grand Rapids for the weekend. (We probably need a new name. Several of us have been married for 10+ years now...) We accepted. This all required some explanation for Paul, who stayed with Fiona and Aiden while we were gone:

"Now, where are you going?"
"Grand Rapids, to stay with some friends."
"Oh, they live in Grand Rapids."
"No, Matt and Karen live here in Warsaw. We're staying at their parents' house."
"So you're visiting their parents?"
"No, their parents won't be there."
"And where are their parents?"
"At a hotel, with the kids."
"Whose kids?"
"Matt and Karen's."

Did it make sense? Nah. But it worked out fine, and I suspect that the Williams kids had as much fun at the hotel pool with their grandparents as we had at their house in their absence.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house. (Sigh...)
Architecture aside, it was nice to be able to walk without stepping on any toys.

Be careful of how you pose for your baby photos. People might just remember you that way.

We played games and talked until two in the morning. Rook was fun, but no one ever remembers the rules. Apples to Apples: Bible Edition answers one of my complaints about the regular edition; that is, the preponderance of actors you've never heard of. Yes, I've heard of Greta Garbo, but I couldn't tell you about her personality. The Angel of Death, on the other hand, is ripe for comic matchups.

But mostly, we just talked. It was oddly refreshing to talk and listen without being interrupted by little (and not-so-little) voices. Somewhere during the night, we discovered that my cousin, Aaron, had been in Matt & Karen's wedding, and we all swapped engagement stories. Ours wasn't the only one that hadn't gone as planned, apparently! Since our usual friends weren't due to arrive until the next day, we got to know some of the newer people a lot better.

Breakfast is always better when someone else makes it. Our pastor and his wife dropped in for a few hours, too.

Isn't this a cool mug?

While we were discussing our options for the day, ice skating came up. I don't believe I have ever passed up an opportunity to go ice skating. When I was in jr. high (middle school to you midwesterners) I used to go ice skating once a week with my friend Peter. It's been years, though. There are no rinks around here that I am aware of. I can only remember one time that Winona Lake was both frozen and clear of snow, and I had no ice skates for that occasion. (Although I did make a point of walking to work across the lake.) A few years ago, I got a pair of skates at a yard sale, in anticipation of it happening again. That was the pair I had in the trunk just in case the skating was better in Michigan than it was in Indiana. I was not disappointed.

Well, actually, I was. Those skates were awful. No matter how comfortable they are on the inside, if you can't stand in them, you're not going to skate in them. I conceded defeat after four painful laps, and rented a pair. Total skating bliss. Funny how much difference 50 years of innovation make!

Karen gave Deborah a steadying hand while I worked out my own skating issues.

We took turns playing shutterbug with the marvelously loopy Jeff and Julie Strietzel.

One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to write good endings to my travelogues. I could say, "and then we went home," but that's too abrupt. Or, I could say, "and a good time was had by all," but that sounds cheesy and trite. I thought about that as we drove home, Deborah snoozing against the window while the sunset flickered through the trees.

Maybe one day I'll figure it out.

1 comment:

Jonadab said...

Older midwesterners know the term "junior high". It's only the young folk that might not. They didn't start calling it "middle school" until sometime in the eighties or nineties, around the time that they started putting the sixth grade into it.

In fact, if you talk to midwestern senior citizens, you may find some who remember that ninth grade used to be part of the junior high at one time, and the senior high started with tenth grade. Also, school started with first grade back then. Kindergarten wasn't added until later.

The exact years when these things changed vary a good deal from one school district to another, of course. What I can't figure out is how they managed to become so universal, with each school district making its own decisions.