Road Trip (Part 2)

As mentioned, we’d been coming off weeks of high-summer weather and 100% humidity, where there was no thought of wearing clothing to get warmer . But here I was in the mountains. I’d brought a couple of long-sleeved t-shirts, a pair of lounge pants and one very light hoodie. It was chilly enough when I went to bed on Thursday night that I wore one of the t-shirts and the lounge pants – and then woke up at 1:00 am, very cold. Ended up finding an extra blanket, and that was fine for that.

Friday the 12th: the morning was leisurely – Van really does work lots and lots, so he was downstairs printing t-shirts, mostly, but he’d made oatmeal and coffee and we did stop to have breakfast. I did lazy things on the computer, read, and took an outdoor shower, because they had one and I could. (The cabin and land is very isolated, but I’m still expecting my al-fresco-y shower to appear on Youtube at some point.)

I was meeting the K’s at The Smoke Joint at noon for lunch, and had invited Van if he could get to a good stopping place (which he did). We headed down in separate cars. The K’s and I were among the first ones there, but it filled up pretty quickly. Niece Allison, who hadn’t been around on Thursday, had joined the party, yay! Van showed up and I introduced him around – as I suspected, Rich and Van knew each other by sight, although they’d never met. Lunch was excellent, although I wasn’t that hungry – I just got a pulled-pork sandwich and stole some fries off another plate. (I should have gotten some pictures of us – I never think of these things.)

We wrapped it up. Van headed back home to keep working, and we headed into “town”, Main Street, to walk around and hit the shops. The one that Allison had remembered as fun was Life Repurposed, and we started there. They had some fun quirky things, and I thought about buying a print of an old barn or such, not expensive, but decided against it. (Refreshing the ‘art situation’ on our walls at home is one of my projects, but there’s no rush. C had put up a lot of decorative art – real art, in that’s it’s painted by artists, but created specifically to decorate your homes. There’s a lot of still lifes, and I’ll probably want to swap them out for landscapes, which I prefer.) I noted vaguely that Life Repurposed had branded t-shirts they were selling, and found out later that Van is the one who makes them. It’s definitely cool to see a bit of the relationships and interactions within a small town or community.

More strolling, shops, bathroom breaks for the kids (and giant blue slushies from the gas station for them). It was a lovely day, though hot. And we wrapped that up and headed back to the K house. The afternoon was nice and lazy again, although young Jackson tried to lure me out to play some game they’d made up the day before – sounded confusing and energetic, so I declined. (the kids got their dad to play outside with them instead) Brandon also found time to dig up some baby pine trees and other plants to bring home to Minnesota, as if their giant car wasn’t already crowded enough with a family of four and their incredibly loving and chill dog, Rusty.

Allison and Dottie and I sat out on the porch and shot the shit, and then later just me and Allison, which is awesome, because I love spending time with my nieces, who are such cool people. Then I took a walk around the lawn, and got reflective and sad. There’s a creek down in a gully at the edge of the lawn, and C had taken me on a tour of it years ago, telling me how they’d played down there as kids. So lots of history there, but not mine, the history of the man whose absence was at the top of everyone’s mind. So I talked to him, as I frequently do, and apologized and told him how much we all wished he was there.

Dinner was grilled steak and a bunch of sides, lots of food (and I didn’t eat that much anyway). Ice cream for dessert. There may have been a glass or two of wine as well. And I bid everyone goodbye. Sam’s family was heading out at some outrageously early time for the very long one-day drive back to Minnesota, so they were all basically heading to bed. Allison lives just up the Hudson from the city, so I’ll see her and her gentleman friend pretty soon, so that’s good. And Rich and Dottie assured me that I was welcome any time, and I assured them right back that they were always welcome to stay at our/my place. It was really great. I’ve said before that I’ve been impressed and delighted how that side of the family has adopted me (although how could they not? I’ve been around for a long time now. Allison doesn’t remember a time when I wasn’t there) . And the proof is in the pudding – they are not writing me off now, and have no intention of doing so.

Back to Van’s. I watched some MSNBC up in the kitchen while he finished up in the basement, then he came up and we played a math-based card game that he’d actually written. It was fun, and I (perhaps unasked for) gave him some feedback for possible improvements. Had some of the gateau Breton I’d brought, and some more wine. And then to bed. (where, overnight, it got even colder. It was 49 degrees when I woke up again.)

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