I haven't been posting to the blog for three reasons. One, we were in North Carolina last week. Two, I have writer's block. And three, Molly was sick, then I was sick, now Frankie is sick.
We flew to North Carolina for Dean's brother's surprise retirement party. And, yes, Dean is a trifle elderly, but he is not elderly enough to have a brother actually retiring from work altogether, just retiring after a long career with the Army. Chris is (was) a Lt. Colonel in the Special Forces and probably has a bundle of weird top-secret Army stories he could tell, but he doesn't, so I am left to vividly imagine special operations involving large palm fronds and black grease paint. I picture Chris wrestling guerrillas and planning "accidents" for hostile heads of state. Momentarily I picture this anyway, and then I see him actually standing in his own kitchen and not being sure of where the flour goes and the intrigue kind of fades as I realize the person who really wears the power pants in the family is not the one who parachutes into the desert, but the small Southern accented steel magnolia known as Lisa, his wife. I think it says something when your adolescent daughters and your husband don't know where to put things away in your kitchen because you're like step aside people, I'll take care of it, just let me clean and cook and hold down a full-time job and throw a surprise party for 100 people, y'all just take a load off.
We had fun at the surprise party, watching Chris take in all those people there to honor his service. He'd be too modest to toot his own horn so it was nice to see others do it for him.
This was also the first time that Dean's brother and his family got to meet Molly. My younger niece, Anne-Marie, was entranced with the baby, but her attention was totally monopolized by Frankie. I'm afraid we may have taken advantage of her because she was so good at entertaining Frankie. Frankie just barked orders to her and Anne-Marie obediently complied. "Pretend your baby was lost and I found her." "Pretend you are sleeping and I came and woke you up." "Pretend it's dark and we were going to explore the whole world." It was so nice to not be in the role of corpse, lost child, fellow spelunker, etc.
The trip home was a convoluted nightmare of cancelled flights and fevers for both Molly and myself. Frankie was, of course, peppy as ever and kept up a running commentary on the situation: "Molly, our plane is broken. Can you say BROKEN? I don't know WHY it's broken. Maybe a bird flew into the engine, Molly. I think maybe it did. Or maybe a piece fell off the wing, Molly. Do you think a piece fell off the wing, Molly? Can you say WING? Or maybe a piece of carpet flew in the engine. Did it, Daddy? Do you think a piece of carpet flew in the engine?". I'm sure the fellow passengers were ready to turn around and say ENOUGH with the theorizing, little girl, let me eat my peanuts in peace!
At least Delta still gives you peanuts. They may cancel your flights, try to reroute you through four major airports, disembark you on the tarmac in the rain, and lose your luggage, but by golly, they still give you peanuts.