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Good morning!

Returned home Friday evening from another business trip, which looks like the last overnighter for a while.  During my time away from home I was thinking a little bit about the nature of families and grandparents, parents and children, and how the fabric of family is a very interesting one indeed!

Here's a quick rundown of some of the family things I've experienced lately.....

Two Fridays ago, our younger grandson celebrated his third birthday, a real milestone for any little one.  He and his big sis were at our house for most of the day that day, and then we went to a Mexican restaurant to meet their mom and dad for dinner.  Had a great time there, and the servers were particularly taken with the birthday boy (his appetite for their warm black bean dip was a point of fascination for them)!

Then to their house for cake, ice cream and presents, all captured in photos and video for sharing with other family who couldn't be there.  A great occasion, and we believe the birthday boy really enjoyed his special day.

So the next morning, my wife and I struck out from Lexington somewhat early to travel the four hours to western Kentucky where my mother-in-law resides.  This was kind of an errand of mercy, as my MOW, who's now 86, had been teetering between staying in her home alone and moving to a smaller rental or even an assisted living community.  My wife was there a few weeks ago for a solo visit, and assured her mother that we could come back and help with some spring cleaning.  We loaded the car with vinegar, ammonia, squeegees, towels, our vacuum cleaner and carpet cleaning machine, so as to be as prepared as possible to assist in any way we could.

I will note only briefly here that in the approximately 30 years that I've known my wife, I have had a strained relationship with my mother-in-law.  Still not quite sure why, as I've been faithful, hard-working and all of that.  But I was a "replacement" for my wife's first husband, who died very young of a debilitating disease, and he was, by all accounts, a tough act to follow.  No matter, just a little background.

Anyway, we arrived there at the MOW's house and within forty-five minutes were back on the road to take the old gal shopping.  Apparently my wife took her shopping a few weeks ago, and persuaded her to use a wheelchair to better navigate the mall (walking any distance is difficult for her these days) and that worked very well.  So this was a second go-round of shopping, and for an 86-year-old woman who doesn't get out much, there are essentials to be acquired.

So my job in that regard was simply as chauffeur and porter.  I then escorted the ladies to church, and, despite my dislike of it, suggested the Cracker Barrel as a dinner site.  Big hit with my MOW.

Next day, we cleaned the windows, and my wife helped her wash her window sheers.  The project was deemed a success.  Then later in the day I persuaded her to allow me to clean her carpet.  I vacuumed with our machine first, then steam-cleaned.  She proclaimed her satisfaction the following morning, after it dried.  I also took a good look at her vacuum, wherein I found three filters to all be hopelessly clogged, so that would explain why her carpet was dirty despite being vacuumed regularly.

We returned home Monday afternoon, tired but glad to have helped, and then I went on my business trip the following morning.  When I returned home, our son and his family had already gone out of town to spend the weekend with friends at a state resort park, so I went over a week without seeing them at all.  Pretty strange!

Glad to be home, certainly, but gladder to be back with my family.  When you have ample opportunities to spend time together and then for a time you do not, it really makes a difference!


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