A Tale of Two Cities (Sorry Mr. Dickens)

2013-01-26 11.26.56
2013-01-25 22.43.46My three-week absence from blogging has a little something to do with the above pictures…………………it was truly a “tale of two cities”!!!  The warm, sunny, serene beach picture was taken the very same day as the cold, dreary, snow-covered driveway picture.   I am somewhat reluctant to confess that I took the beach picture and Christopher took the picture of my driveway which we then texted to each other.  I further admit that upon receiving Chris’ text, a huge smile appeared upon my face :) for I was enjoying beautiful, blue skies and warm, sunny weather in the middle of an Ohio winter having been, once again, the recipient of an all expense paid trip to Disney World and the Florida coast as a Christmas gift from Stephanie and Joe.  Oh, and perhaps I should also mention that the “gift” came with a caveat………………..they and the three kids were going to go along with me!!!!!!!!!!  Thank goodness I have no illusions about vacationing with families (or a husband and wife, for that matter!!!) or trips to amusement parks.  After all, I once spent an entire day at King’s Island when the air temperature was 103 degrees (we actually witnessed brush fires along the median strips on I-71 as we headed to the Park that morning!) with four kids, several brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews and one crazy man (guess who???).   As my sisters and I dragged ourselves around the Park, snatching small blocks of ice from the lemonade stands with which to saturate our sweltering faces and limbs, Crick paraded by us with a toddler sitting atop his shoulders and the other kids trailing behind him, all the while muttering that it is was not hot and that he had paid over one hundred dollars to get us in that day, and come hell or high water, he was going to get his money’s worth!!!!!!  Needless to say, it was a day that has been permanently “seared” into our memories!!  LOL

Anyway, we arrived in Orlando, picked up a rental van and headed to Disney World where we were met by 017Jeannie and Bob (Crick’s sister and brother-in-law).  Bob is retired from Disney and was able to get us all into the Magic Kingdom free of charge where we spent the day keeping watch for Mickey, Minnie, Cinderelly, (as Mayce calls her) Snow White, etc.  I am definitely not an “Amusement Park” person as rides either terrify me or make me ill, but I was coaxed onto the Thunder Mountain roller coaster (pretty tame by most people’s standards) and discovered that this old body could still withstand the twists and turns, head jerks and lurches and even find that I rather enjoyed the ride.  After an overnight stay at Disney, we headed to a resort along the coast which could only be designated as a bit of Paradise on earth.  Stephanie must have inherited her Mother’s idea of “camping”…………………………..meaning the more amenities the better!!!!  Jeannie and Bob joined us for two and a half days of lounging around the pool and hot tub, walks along the beach and spending the evenings around the gas fire pit roasting marshmallows for s’mores.  Of course, along with the good, occasionally comes the bad, and on the plane ride home I began to feel feverish and ended up confined to home for four days with a fever virus.

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Peggy, Mark, Janie, Joy, Rayne, Jay

One thing I find myself repeating over and over is that…………………………………my life is never, ever boring!!!!  Before I left on my little trip, Peggy decided to get the Schultheis sibs together for card night.  Now, while we all may have been missing Crick and his outrageous comments and antics which always managed to keep the evening “lit up” so to speak, Mark and Jay did their best Crick “impersonation” in that, not only did they keep upping the ante all night long, but they also managed to successfully bluff their way to winning much of my hard-earned cash (please note the number of chips sitting in front of Peggy, Mark and Jay and then note the small stack at my empty place at the table!!).  Furthermore, they both strategically worked together to constantly harass me by placing a very real looking plastic cockroach (a remnant from our OBX trip) on my chair, under my cards and in my coat pocket!!  I feel as though I should charge them for the entertainment I so unwillingly provided for them!!! :)

Now, you might think that someone who has rather loudly pronounced that “gambling” is not her thing would not then further promote loss of “wealth” by inviting all of her siblings and in-laws for another card night…………………….but that is exactly what I did!!  However, being the hostess, I was able to establish the maximum amount per chip and because of the greater number of players the pot built up pretty significantly

Carole, Tommy, Kathy, Cecilia, Mike, Billy, Dawn, Tom, Maria, Jo, Me, John, Bobby, Christine
Carole, Tommy, Kathy, Cecilia, Mike, Billy, Dawn, Tom, Maria, Jo, Me, John, Bobby, Christine

with little personal loss as we spent the evening playing “pass the trash”.  It has become tradition that when playing this particular game with either side of the family, whenever someone loses all of their chips and exits the game the remaining players take great pleasure in singing:  http://youtu.be/n6RoOwSKI7M?t=1m47s.

For the occasion I had bought a six-pack of Crick’s favorite Warsteiner beer and as we were all seated around the table Billy offered a silent toast to Crick.  The fact that Crick can still be a subject of conversation whenever either side of the family gathers speaks volumes about his impact on everyone, and I cannot adequately express how comforting it is for me to have others bring his name into our conversations.

As always, the grandchildren continue to provide me with many funny moments……………………last Sunday morning Tommy called me asking me to come over and clean because their house was, in his words, “a mess”.  It seems that Stephanie had told Tommy that he needed to help pick up some of his things and then they would have to sweep the floors and Tommy just looked at her and said, “Let’s just call “Cleaner Nana”!”  And so he did…………when I asked Tommy how much he was prepared to pay me, he replied that he thought ten dollars was a fair amount.  I quickly informed him that my cleaning services were worth way more than ten dollars and then quite suddenly the line went dead.  A minute later my phone rang again, this time it was from Stephanie’s cell number and again it was Tommy………….I asked him if he had just hung up on me and he explained “My phone was out of minutes!”……………..what???!!!………………….a five year old has his own phone plan??????  (Not really……it was apparently an old phone with expiring minutes).  And then there are the two-year olds…………………..just the other night the grandchildren were all over and Megan overheard the following exchange between Josh and Mayce after they had each asked her for a glass of water.  After she had given them each a glass and turned to walk out of the room, she heard the sound of glasses clinking together and two small voices shouting “Cheers!”.  Now I swear, they didn’t pick that up from me!!!!! :)  On a more “serious” note, I received a picture text from

Sydney told me she drew this when she thought Obama was a girl!!!!
Sydney told me she drew this when she thought Obama was a girl!!!!

Christopher of a drawing Sydney had displayed in her class room which he and Jessica discovered when they attended Immaculate Conception’s open house!!!!!!  OMGosh…………………………………I must pray harder for the future!!!  One granddaughter (Natalie) is fretting about the environment, and now Sydney has abdicated to the other

Having received this picture text from Stephanie, the children are a bit worried that I may have a "problem"  LOL
Having received this picture text from Stephanie, the children are a bit worried that I may have a “problem” LOL

side as well!! LOL!  I mean………. is it any wonder that I now find myself draining the last few drops from a bottle of Riunite, pouring them into a wine glass and covering the glass with aluminum foil to carry along with me whenever I am invited to any of the grandchildren’s homes for dinner?????!!!!!  Ha, ha, ha!!!    

As I always like to pass along the inspirational texts which bring me peace and hope and encouragement each day, I have chosen another of my favorites from the book Jesus Calling.  This daily devotional with its accompanying Scripture passages has helped me to see how the Word of God, throughout all of the ages, has remained constant and trustworthy and that by continually seeking God, we always, always, always find His Presence and His peace.

I am with you and for you.  You face nothing alone………..nothing!  When you feel anxious, know that you are focusing on the visible world and leaving Me out of the picture.  The remedy is simple:  Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen.  Verbalize your trust in Me, the Living One who sees you always.  I will get you safely through this day and all of your days.  But you can find Me only in the present.  Each day is a precious gift from My Father.  How ridiculous to grasp for future gifts when today’s is set before you!  Receive today’s gift gratefully, unwrapping it tenderly and delving into its depths.  As you savor this gift, you find Me.                                        from Jesus Calling

Since what we aim for is not visible but invisible. Visible things are transitory, but invisible things eternal.       2 Corinthians 4:18



P.S.  When we were at Disney, the kids and I found a photo booth……………the last time I was in one was when I was in grade school………….it is kind of nice to know there are some things that haven’t changed!!

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One thought on “A Tale of Two Cities (Sorry Mr. Dickens)

  1. Oh! I love this post! Those Photo booth pictures are priceless! Keep the post coming, they make my day!


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