july 10 (wednesday): daves grandma jeanne died. flight to detroit. visit moomoo. novi hotel. visit dad in hospital (me).
* getting on the shuttle to the baltimore airport in the morning, we were informed that daves grandma jeanne had passed away. she was 97 years old and suffered from alzheimers for several years. we had received word that things had suddenly started to go downhill while we were in canada, and a few days after that we were told she was on hospice. it was of course sad that she passed away, but we were all happy she went quickly and wasnt in pain. she had a long, healthy life before that and got to see and do many things. ** the baltimore airports security was terrible. * our visit with moomoo was nice, but its always a hundred degrees and humid when we visit the poor lady. * we hadnt formulated much of a plan beyond this point since everything we had previously planned for had changed on us, but luckily we were able to easily add 5 days to the hotel in novi we had booked. the place had a pool and lounge rooms and a courtyard and free breakfast and there were tons of food options and a grocery store nearby. * after dinner i went alone to visit my dad. he seemed comfortable (enough) and the staff seemed nice and helpful. he had just been moved to the rehab part of the hospital that morning. he seemed happy to work with the staff and though he would like to get out, he was not grumpy or pissed about being there. in many ways he seemed normal and "the same", which was somewhat of a relief. *
(me, X, and moomoo)
july 11 (thursday): pool. lunch with whipps. visit dad in hospital (dave, X, and i). dinner with daves family. frozen yogurt (at menchies).
* working off of minimal sleep, we did a lot of brainstorming and on-the-fly schedule changing today and for future days, but tried to go with the flow as much as possible. * it was nice to see my dad during physical therapy and to get to talk to his doctor. it made me feel better to be included in those important medical interactions. * while it was unexpected, it was nice to have a chance to see so much of daves family (for the memorial dinner for his grandma, his sister and her husband flew in, as well as daves cousins and uncles/aunts on that side). we had a nice extended family dinner where X got lots of love and attention and was very friendly with everyone, including the males in the group. *
july 12 (friday): oakland county 4H fair. open book in fenton. lunch (at the laundry). pool. visit dad in hospital (me).
* the fair was fun and was grandpa whipps idea. X took a few minutes to warm up to the idea of petting all the animals but then she was in heaven. we especially liked feeding carrot slices to a tent of friendly animals (our favorite was the water buffalo). * the book store in fenton was nice and i found a couple new books to keep us occupied on future travel days. * lunch at french laundry was a good approximation of lunch at zingermans. * swimming at the hotel where all daves family was staying was great for everyone. it was so nice to enjoy all the positives that a death in the family can bring, lots of family time with people you dont normally get to see. * i got to hang out with my dad alone again. we had some fairly normal-for-us visiting time (jeopardy and him yelling at the news afterward) in the hospital. he seems better each time i go. *
(feeding carrots at the county fair)
july 13 (saturday): shopping (at nordstrom). lunch (at bagger daves). pool. grandma jeannes memorial service and apartment visit. shopping (at great lakes crossing). memorial dinner (at shepherds hollow golf club).
* busy day today, and under the circumstances, X did great. we even crammed some much needed shopping into the spare minutes we had between important memorial events. * daves grandmas service was nice and seeing nearly every one of her living family members there was amazing (her brother and his wife, her two nieces, her three kids, her six grandkids with spouses [minus one], and 5 of her 6 great-grandkids). the memorial dinner was on the porch and outside areas of the golf clubhouse and it was the perfect night for it. the clubhouse is nestled in a quiet forest of towering pine trees. it really was a great party. id like to have people celebrate me going out in that way. *
(grandma whipp and X at the memorial dinner; aunt megan obliging X by bug hunting in their fancy clothes)
* rough day. X acquired a cold yesterday and proceeded to delight us with her typical i-have-a-cold crap attitude and sleep habits, followed by matching crap parental sleep and attitudes. i actually uttered out loud today the phrase, "i just want to go home". 3 weeks is too long (and we had a week left!), and this level of visiting and stress was just too high for me. i also tried not to allow myself to remember that late october would be our earliest next chance at time for relaxation. ew. *
july 15 (monday): amy and kids visit. ann arbor picnic with dohring side. pool. dave and X head up north.
* a welcome nice day of fun for X (and us) with visits that calmed my nerves a bit. it was great to see my friend amy, who happened to be at her parents house in michigan, and to be able to meet her new son nate (i have a crush!). her parents are always such great hosts too (8 years ago, they did an impromptu wedding day brunch for me. it was awesome). * seeing my dads side of the family, even for just a couple hours is always a treat. the argo pond spot for our picnic was very busy but it was nice to play in the water and try to enjoy the heat. * dave and X (DX) split off at night to drive up to daves parents cabin in boyne. they will spend two days having fun, while i will spend two days trying to get a work project done and visiting my dad in the hospital. it was my first time away from her, so it was a bit of a strange and empty feeling. *
(X and nate holding hands. adorable. they were also staring at each other for a while.)
july 16 (tuesday): ME - work. lunch with mom/al (at senate coney island). visit dad in hospital. dinner with mom/al. work. DX - beach. pool. grandma babysit while dave goes to sailboat race with his dad.
* it was nice to get some quiet time and organize my thoughts about work, something i didnt expect from this trip. i had almost forgotten what peaceful adult time felt like. a luxury! * im always glad to fit in a coney dog meal, what a glorious michigan creation. i brought one to dad too. *
july 17 (wednesday): ME - visit dad in hospital. lunch with mom/al (at olgas). work. dinner with phil (at j.alexanders). DX - pool. boat ride/lake swimming. pool.
* i had a busy enough day that i still didnt get too sad missing dave and X. i was happy they were coming back, but it wasnt a weepy thing. * it was nice to be able to go out alone for dinner with phil and his girlfriend bree. since they dont have kids its nice to go solo and be able to talk and listen without interruption. *
july 18 (thursday): mom/al hang out with X. dave and i to lunch (at ajishin), run errands for my dad, get drinks (from biggby coffee), and grocery shopping (at trader joes). dinner at hotel (pizza on the grill). visit dad in hospital (me).
* X was totally fine with being left with my mom and (p)al, which was great for her and them, and great for us. it makes it so easy to be able to get away for a calm tasty meal and do some much needed errands that just arent very manageable with her. * at the hospital, its been impressive to see my dad getting more mobile each day and staying (mostly) positive about his options once out of the hospital. im glad, in many ways, that i was able to be in town during this potentially scary time. *
july 19 (friday): moomoos for lunch with aunt friskie. visit dad in hospital (dave, X, and i). dave to frisbee golf with my brother. georgettes for visiting with college friends with kids.
* it was another hard day (emotionally and otherwise), though i wish it hadnt been. there were some good things, but more heavily there were frustrating and stressing things. it was a shame i couldnt enjoy our visits more today, i just think that at this point we had almost been gone 4 weeks away from home with too big and sustained a variety of stress. our final days with friends and family should have been fun, but at it was, at least for me, i was mostly just trying hard to show up to everything at least halfway presentable (physically and emotionally). *
(making pappy smile at the hospital)
july 20 (saturday): pool time with friend paul and kiddos (dave and X). errands for my dad and visit him in hospital (me). novi library. julies wedding.
* the kid took no nap today, but had tons of playtime. she went to bed at 10:30p(!) but happily survived her first bedtime without mom OR dad (thanks mom/al). * we had a GREAT time at julies wedding with all of our former college pals and almost all of their partners. everyone was sans kiddos and it was really a lot of fun. i was glad to have this little pocket of time to throw off some of the stress, to be with people who know our goods, bads, and uglys, to have the warm fuzzies for the days of yore but to catch up on who these people are now. weddings create that special environment where you get to have all those feelings and experiences with people you dont normally get to see anymore, and im glad we were able to be in town for it. *
(naked X and pauls kids lily and evelyn)
(heading off to julies wedding; marmee and X having fun while we were at the wedding)
july 21 (sunday): lily/ercan/everett brunch in ann arbor. visit dad in hospital (me). wixom habitat. paradise park (for go-karting and arcade play). hang out with paul (dave). pool swim with missy/ava/lonnie (X and i).
* having had only one thing planned for our final full day, the day ended up playing out nicely, which was a great way to wind down a long trip. * after the wedding, we were very tired but happy to be able to visit with grad school friends in ann arbor (this was just my second brief time in ann arbor on this whole trip. boo). lily and ercan and now their son everett are great people to have down time with. they create a great relaxed atmosphere and i always feel full when we leave. * i tried to meet up with my brothers at the hospital but that didnt work out. * X and i gave dave some alone time to do work. we went for a nature walk and did some go-karting (but, i drove too rough for her to have much fun). we also did her first time at an arcade, she liked using her tickets to choose a lollipop and some fake teeth. * and in an unprecedented experience, my friend missy, her husband, and their little girl were able to come swim in our hotel pool. it was so impromptu and yet wonderfully welcome. *
(fake teeth monster; last pool swim)
july 22 (monday): checked out of hotel. quick visit to dad in hospital (dave, X, and i). detroit airport. flight to chicago. flight to helsinki.
* it was nice to see my brother, grandpa and dad at the hospital before we left. we were running late so it was a far too short and overwhelming goodbye, but at least we made it in. * the experience at the detroit airport went pretty smoothly, except that the airport food choices in the smith terminal are awful. * our landing in chicago was a bit scary, but we were okay. * our flight from chicago to helsinki was delayed a bit in boarding and then we had a 2 hour delay once we were boarded. while there were no (individual) video screens and a crotchety flight attendant in our area the flight wasnt excruciating. we had a nice seat location and enough space and we were able to busy X until she willingly fell asleep and stayed asleep. *
(wearing the princess crown marmee got for her onto the detroit-chicago flight got a bunch of laughs from the passengers)