We’re back. I am tired (jetlagged) and sore, having pulled a rib muscle (gardening injury!). I guess that means it was a good vacation.
Short version: We spent a few days at our house near Eugene, then we drove down to Grants Pass, picked up my parents who flew into Medford (half an hour away), had a Passover Seder at my (non-Jewish) in-laws’ house, spent a couple of days driving along the Oregon coast with my parents, soent a few days at our house to let them see it, then back to GP to drop them off. Then we returned to the house for a few more days. Family visited, scenery seen, house stuff done, garden put in, American food eaten.
We got bumped up to business class on the flight to the US, which is so much better. It was especially well-timed because I hadn’t been feeling all that well. The seats didn’t recline flat, but almost; the food was good enough that I wouldn’t have minded being served it at a restaurant. There was room to move, not sit frozen for ten hours. It was very nice – but still not worth what the airlines charge for it when you have to pay in money.
I am unreasonably excited that we got a washer and dryer; we stopped at Sears literally before even getting to the house, on our way in from the Portland International Airport. We got there about 2:15 on Saturday; they only deliver to our town on Sunday and Thursday, and by Thursday we knew we’d be off on our travels. It turned out the deadline for Sunday delivery was 3PM Saturday so we were just in time. Before this my in-laws would take sheets and towels back to their house to be washed, and I felt bad about that. Also, it was so nice to be able to use a big and speedy American washer and dryer after all our frustration with the tiny slow European ones, that I did a lot more laundry than was strictly necessary. They’re not anything terribly special, just a high-efficiency top loader and a basic dryer, not even of the same brand. (I’ve been told there’s not much difference between dryers, so we got a cheaper one). But they work and they wash more than three things at a time, which is more than I can say of the ones here.
Ted got a lot of work done on our boat rack, which was his goal for the trip, so hopefully next time we can bring our boats home from my in-laws’ garage where they’ve been stored since 2006. Unfortunately I didn’t finish the knitting I was working on (I’d hoped to be able to mail it from within the US) but I got a lot done and just have the border left. My deadlinr for it is still a couple months off, so that’s no problem.
With a lot of help and advice from my in-laws and especially my MIL who is a Master Gardener, we put in plants on three berms we’d had made in back of the house. We discussed our dock and some other planned plantings with the architect who is helping us get those done (the plantings are on land belonging to the Army Corps of Engineers and require permission), got all our locks changed and set to one key, and had the fireplaces looked at. Somehow, I feel like we’ve established a real partnership with my in-laws, who have been very generous with their time and help on this house. They get a nice vacation house on a lake to use whenever they want, but I think we benefit more from having someone trustworthy keeping an eye on things and being there when necessary (e.g. they’ll go up when the fireplace guy comes back to install a blower on the two fireplaces that don’t have one).
My parents drove me a bit nuts, as usual – they just take so much minding! Dad hardly gets interested n anything, though I mostly blame his meds for that – I also think they’re just not that interested in scenery, though it doesn’t get much better than the Oregon coast. Whenever we’d stop somewhere and the walk was too much for Dad, he’d go nap in the car even if there was a bench nearby facing the ocean in warm sun. Mom does a lot better – and I am impressed that she goes to the gym 3-4 times a week – but I still have to keep a close eye on where she’s walking. (Despite all the Zumba and Pilates classes, her balance isn’t very good and she couldn’t jump 3′ across a beach rivulet.) They didn’t seem to think much of our house either – if anything, they seemed to like the in-laws’ better. Ted thinks it’s because it’s smaller and keeps everyone closer together. (The ability to spread out, to hang out together or go off on your own is exactly what we like about our place!) On the plus side, my parents and in-laws got to hang out together for the first time since our wedding in 1993 and I think they all enjoyed that. I led the Seder, which I’ve never done before, and everyone seemed to like that as well – Dad even complimented me on it and he doesn’t do that much. I just did sort of a mini-Seder, only 20 minutes or so, but we got through the essentials.
After we dropped my parents off for their flight back, we were hoping to see one of Ted’s grandfathers (the one we didn’t see at Christmas), who was going to drive in to see us and for an eye-doctor appointment (he’s 90, but very independent). Unfortunately, he’s getting over a virus and woke up feeling too crappy to drive that morning, and we didn’t find out about it until it was too late to go see him – 4+ hours each way and we had commitments the next day. (He’d been planning to stay over.) So instead we went to the house a day early, which was good because we got to buy the plants then, on Wednesday. On Thursday we put them in on the berms we’d had made behind the house, first thing in the morning before it rained. Forty-three of them, to be precise. I dug the holes, my MIL planted them, Ted and his father moved rocks and reshaped the berms. (Apparently their layout and contours weren’t perfect. I have no idea why and couldn’t tell you what was changed.) Friday it rained but we put out the manure and bark mulch anyway., and Saturday/Sunday we flew back to the Netherlands. Walking home from the train station, we saw enough trash on the street and smelled enough used beer to make me very happy we missed Queen’s Day.
Back to work wasn’t that much fun, but at least the jetlag didn’t hit too badly. It did start to hit a bit on the ride home. Ted too – I can tell because as we pulled in he said “I am starting to fade now,” then promptly proved it by sideswiping the post that borders our parking space. Oops. (And evil wishes to the ones who designed our lot and its too-small spaces.) I miss big American parking lots. Also American houses, washers, pretzels, steaks, ovens….
Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.