I've had a marvelous weekend so far!

Despite the best-laid plans, I didn't get to Seattle until 3 o'clock in the afternoon. For starters, I puttered around the house too long Saturday morning and was 15 minutes late to pick up Lou. Then I spent a good 15-20 minutes talking to Angel and her mom before packing Lou and her stuff into the car and hitting the road. Next, I had promised myself an Sausage McMuffin for breakfast, because I love them so but rarely get to have one, so I drove about 15 minutes in the opposite direction to fulfill that promise to myself.

Because I had no luggage of my own, except one beat-up, fairly large suitcase, I packed my stuff for the weekend into a garbage bag, but gave myself permission to stop at Target on the way and buy myself some decent overnight/short-trip gear. I really enjoyed shopping with Lou! She was pointing at everything, saying "Wuzzit?" "Wuzzit?" "Wuzzit?" And for each "What's that" we stopped, I told her the name and, if it wasn't fragile, we took it down and touched it, felt the texture, turned it over, named the colors, etc. When we got back to the car, I discovered it was 11am -- and I'd left the house at 9:15am! LOL

Our next stop was a rest area about 100 miles up the road. It was in a beautiful setting, a wooded area with lots of wildflowers and large rocks -- and a gazillion dogs being walked by their owners! Lou had to explore, meet all the dogs and several of the people and I was in awe experiencing all of this for the first time again! The "potty break" lasted 45 minutes!

I have never enjoyed a visit with my step-mom Shellee as much as I enjoyed this one! For one thing, when AJ was small, she and my father were not "kid people." They didn't hate them, I don't think, but they had a very adult-oriented lifestyle and didn't feel the need to adapt to little ones being around. Daddy never did know how to show affection to anyone but Shellee (I'm very glad he found her) and Shellee just seemed disinterested at the time. This time, Shellee was immediately smitten with Lou and had toys, etc. around because Tad, her live-in boyfriend of nine years (they'd be husband and wife if it didn't cut their income almost in half to do so), has five grandchildren of his own, all toddlers or younger.

Lou was a little reticent with Shellee at first, but soon came around. Tad is one of those people who is very comfortable with children and he captured Lou's heart immediately. We had a wonderful, relaxing afternoon and evening. The woman who was once too young to be a grandmother was now inviting friends and family over to meet her great-granddaughter! And, as always, conversation with Shellee and Tad was fun and easy.

On Sunday, however, Lou was lethargic and spiked a fever of 104 degrees. Tad and I went to the store for Tylenol and Shelle watched Lou. Lou slept off and on throughout the day, with small spurts of her good-natured self (when the temp was down to 101) mixed in with crying, clinginess and more sleep. Tad and Shellee were right there for Lou the whole time, wanting to hold her and comfort her, bathing her in tepid water to get her temp down, so I could eat my dinner, etc.

Angel called that morning to ask if I would be back in time for her high school graduation ceremony (why she hadn't already asked me directly before I took her daughter to Seattle is a long story), I told her yes and didn't tell her the baby was sick, because I wanted her to enjoy her graduation, without worrying about her daughter who was 180 miles away. Even if we'd been in town, someone would have had to stay home with Lou during the exercises and I would have been the logical choice.

The trip back to Portland was a quick one, mostly because I wanted to arrive before Angel got home from the ceremony so she wouldn't worry. AJ gently chided me for not calling him to tell him Lou was sick. He understood my wanting to spare Angel the worry, but said that I could have called him to tell him what was going on. I agreed that it would have been better and I apologized for not having thought of it. AJ and Angel told me that they had seen someone in my apartment as they went back and forth over the weekend and that they had assumed I'd sent Gary to stop by and check on things.

Needless to say I was a little concerned, since NO ONE has a key to my apartment except me and my neighbor Linda Sue. When I got home, though, nothing appeared disturbed or out of place and I decided that the kids had been deceived by the light I'd left on in the kitchen during my absence. However, when I did my nightly rounds to check all the doors and windows, I found that AJs bedroom window was shut but not locked and that there was a small, orderly pile of his possessions on his bed -- neither of which had been the case when I left Saturday morning. The kids are so funny!

I'm not going to let on that I know. If they ask, I'll just say that I found no sign that Gary or Doug had been inside. But I've added an errand to today's to-do list: purchase wooden dowels to secure all the windows in the apartment, since my son obviously knows how to jimmy the locks! LOL

Now I've a wonderful, full weekend and I still have today and tomorrow off before going back to work. I have class tonight and a final on Wednesday, so there is definitely homework and studying to be done, but I'd like to get some other things done while I've got the zipcar until 5p tonight. Actually, I'm questioning the wisdom/frugality of extending the reservation by one day, just so I don't have to (a) cram all my errands into the next 7 hours and (b) I can get home from school by 9:30p and maybe even go sing karaoke tonight! But I'll decide that later. For now I'll just get started and see how far I get by 5pm.

I'll add some pictures to the photo album later to share this blessed weekend with you all.

Peace -- Dana

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