Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The first day back from a vacation, even a short one, is not just like a Monday. It's Monday ++. I've been in the office for over an hour as I type this, and this is the first chance I've had to sit down at my desk.

So I'm going to cheat a bit. Instead of writing a journal entry, I'm going to paste in the notes I took while I was there, and then splice in some photos where they seem appropriate. Sorry for being lame. Tomorrow, maybe I'll have time to write something.

Friday, 3:00pm
Fairly quick trip... Thank goodness, since Army guy on plane took the center armrest and then some, and someone near us was flatulent. On the ground by noon, in the car by 1, and in the hotel by 2. (Hotel would've been faster, but there was roadwork on 14th Street that made traffic insane. Note to self: don't take 14th unless you have to... And this is a mostly grid city, so you don't have to.)

Went out looking for food -- hotel minibar has predictably redonkulous prices. Found a mall/food court as close as next door with a wide variety of options. Also turned out, once I was inside, to connect directly to the hotel. Good to know tomorrow when I head out in search of coffee and something to tide me over until late breakfast. For now, since my food so far had been a large coffee and a small cookie on the plane, I got Chinese food. Intended it to be lunch and a snack later, to tide me over to dinner (dinner reservations are for 6:30, so I'll be shocked if we eat before 7:30) but the whole thing disappeared. Luckily, the mall also has a convenience store. After looking at the minibar's prices, 7-11 prices seem quite reasonable. Only $1 for a candy bar, instead of $5? Sure!

It's 3ish now, so I'm trying to decide whether to go visit Grandmom or just stay put and rest a little.

I ended up not going to see Grandmom today. I stayed in the hotel and read, then I changed into nicer clothes and decided to walk down to the restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. I waffled over that for a while, but it was only 8 blocks. I figured, what the heck. It turned out to be a fantastic decision, because on the way back, I wound up taking a bunch of pictures of Atlanta at night that I hope will turn out to be really cool.

The rehearsal dinner wasn't nearly as boring as I was expecting it to be -- saved largely by the fact that a lot of the groomsmen were very friendly and outgoing. I wound up sitting with Meghan and her fiance, and one of the groomsmen and his girlfriend, and the flower girl and her father. It was a nice group, actually, well-suited for conversation all around (though I think the flower girl was quite bored -- almost made me with I'd brought Penny, if not Alex). The three guys were all geeks, so they talked tech a lot. Meghan's fiance and the girlfriend are both originally from the same country (South Africa), and the girlfriend is studying to be a teacher.

The food was wonderful, speeches were made, and I got to see all the cousins and their respective Significant Others. (Even Craig, who doesn't much like to even admit that he likes girls, had a girlfriend along!)

I checked my phone about halfway through, and found voicemail from Sam -- it turns out I was wrong and she and John ARE in town for the wedding, though they were too tired from the drive to come to the rehearsal dinner. But I'll see them at the family breakfast tomorrow, and afterward, the three of us are planning to go visit with Grandmom. I'll bring along the iPad so I can show her pictures. After that, I told them they're welcome to hang out with me here at the hotel. It puts a bit of a crimp in my plan to lounge and read and/or write, but honestly, by the time we've done a late breakfast, and then gone out to visit Grandmom, and then come back, I expect there will only be a couple of hours left until we have to head out for the wedding, anyway. So that's the plan for tomorrow. Maybe I'll do some writing in the morning, before I head over to Bill and Sharon's.

Saturday, 8:00am
The bed was comfy, but unfamiliar, so I was awake at 5:30, dammit. At least I got to lounge around in bed and read. I got up around 7 or so and got dressed, then went down to the mall in search of coffee -- I remember seeing a Starbuck's when I was wandering yesterday.

The mall was technically open, but almost none of the shops in it were. As near as I can tell, the mall exists mostly to service the office buildings on the floors above it, so a lot of the shops don't even open on the weekends at all -- including the bagel place I'd been thinking about for breakfast tomorrow. Oh, well... The Starbuck's was only accessible if I left the mall and wandered around the block on the outside, as near as I could tell. Feeling lazy, I stopped at the only other open place that I could see, which was the Greek gyro place. They were advertising breakfast combos, but since I'm going to Bill & Sharon's at 10 for a family breakfast (call it brunch, since I doubt we'll eat before 11) I didn't get anything. I really just wanted a coffee to counteract the lack of sleep and to tide me over until then, and also to break a $20 so I'd have a few ones to tip the valet when I get my car. Greek coffee does not fool around, though. It took 4 packs of Splenda and 2 creamers to make it palatable, but I'm awake now!

Great good gods, where do I even begin?

So around 9:40, I left the room to head over to Bill and Sharon's. Which turned out to be a bit too early, as I pulled into their driveway at 9:48. And then I realized there were probably quite a few cars on their way and I wasn't sure I wanted my car to be trapped in their very steep driveway, so I pulled back out and parked around the corner. I was still a bit early, but there were already plenty of people there, so I didn't feel too bad about it. Sam was there, but John wasn't -- he'd forgotten the battery for his camera, so turned around and headed back to their hotel, 1/2 hour away. (Oy...) If he'd thought to check with me first, I'd have loaned him my spare. Oh, well, live and learn.

Eventually, John got back and he and Sam and I started talking about their niece's wedding in July and their big vacation trip. Eventually, at around 11, Bill came over, holding a phone, and gestured for us to join him in a slightly quieter corner of the house. It turned out that the hospital, which had told him that probably on Monday or Tuesday they'd release Grandmom to the geriatric ward for further observation, had decided that she's ready to go back to her nursing home. Today.

So it's 11am. We haven't had "breakfast" yet. Bill has to be at the church at 3. And the hospital wants him to come and discharge Grandmom. Aheh. Eventually, we decided that John and Sam and I would go over to the hospital with Bill and take her back to her nursing home, and then the three of us "kids" would stay with Grandmom for a bit so that Bill can bolt for the church. The hospital promised to have her ready to discharge by noon. We chivvied everyone into eating "breakfast", finally, around 11:30, and then departed for the hospital sometime after 12.

We got to the hospital, and amazingly, the discharge paperwork was actually all done and ready for Bill's signatures. But Grandmom wasn't dressed yet, because the orderlies were blowing off the nurse, or something. So I went in and helped her out.

I expect the low point of this trip is going to be having to help put a diaper on my grandmother.

Or maybe it's the bit how, when I walked into the room and cheerfully announced, "Hi, Grandmom! It's Liz! How are you feeling?" she just looked at me blankly.

At one point, while I was trying to button her shirt for her, she pressed her fingers to her temples. I asked if her head hurt, and she responded that she was just frustrated. I'm not sure I've ever seen her admit to that much weakness before.

But finally, she was pretty much ready to go. By the time she was dressed, she had worked out who I was, and was even smiling slightly from time to time. Her smile got big when John and Sam came in, which was nice to see. She took hold of my hand and didn't let go for a good fifteen minutes.

And then we hung around for another half hour while the nurse and Bill attempted to locate Grandmom's shoes and earrings. Which they didn't. No surprise there. At least I had my iPad with me, and all the pictures of the kids. I'm not sure she really understood who Penny and Alex were, but it didn't matter; I picked all the cutest pictures out for her, and she enjoyed their adorableness and enthusiasm.

Eventually, sometime after 2, we got her back to her apartment at the nursing home. Bill still had to go home and change for the wedding and then get to the church by 3, so he rushed off, and left us to entertain Grandmom for a while. Sam played the piano for a while, and then we sat and talked to her. (Mostly John and Sam told her about their trip. I don't think she understood most of it, but it didn't really matter; she was thrilled to just have us near her.) After about twenty minutes, she started looking droopy. "Grandmom, are you feeling tired?" I asked. "A little," she admitted. "Want to take a little nap?" I suggested. "No, I'm enjoying talking with you all." Well, fair enough.

But she was still exhausted. I slipped out to the nurse's station and asked them to send someone in to put her to bed in five minutes or so. By the time the girl came in to help her to bed, she'd forgotten about our conversation and was ready to be talked into it. So we gave her hugs and kisses and promised to come back soon, and went back to the hotel.

(After some talk, and some further consultation of our maps, we decided that the best thing to do would be to leave John and Sam's car where it was, parked for free in a residential neighborhood, and for us all to carpool in my rental. That way, I'd have some help with the navigation, and we'd only have one car's worth of parking to pay for.)

Back at the hotel, we ducked out to the mini-mall for coffee and snacks (since we hadn't had lunch and we expected dinner to be fairly late) and then sat around my room chatting for half an hour or so until it was time to change clothes for the wedding. I changed in the bathroom while they changed in the main room, and off we went. Eventually, we found the church (we drove past it once, but spotted it in time, so just had to turn around and go back) and were in our seats with time to spare.

The wedding was very beautiful and touching, and then we made our way over to the park for the reception. (They had handouts with directions at the church, which I thought was very nice and helpful.) The park had golf carts employed to take us from the park's parking garage over to the building where the reception was (which was good, because it would've been a heck of a walk, especially in heels). The reception itself was quite nice -- drinks and appetizers and then several buffet stations with very good food, and the usual too-loud dance music and cake cutting and... etc. A fairly standard reception, really.

Not knowing too many other people there, and not being inclined to dance, and being tired from the day's running around, John and Sam and I mustered ourselves to leave around 9. (We actually left around 9:30, after we'd hunted down David and Alexis and Bill and Sharon to congratulate them and say goodbye.) The parking garage was less than half a mile from where John and Sam had left their car, so I drove them over there and we said our farewells, as well, and parted ways to head back to our respective hotels. I got back to my room just a smidge before 10, kicked off my heels, checked Twitter, and then called home.

What a day. I hope tomorrow is somewhat calmer. I'm at the hotel for pretty much the whole morning, heading over to Bill and Sharon's again around 11:30 for a "pulled pork" brunch. (Starting time given as 11:30; I'm guessing we'll eat closer to 1.) That's apparently going to be a MUCH bigger gathering than today's breakfast -- some 40 people, at last count (probably most of those who were at the rehearsal dinner).

Depending on how late that runs, I'll try to go visit Grandmom in the afternoon, and then I expect I'm on my own for dinner and the rest of the evening. I'm not sure what I'll do -- depends on how tired I am, I guess.

Sure hope I manage to sleep better tonight, though.

Sunday, 6:30pm
Managed to sleep until after 6 this morning, though not much.

Went over to Bill and Sharon's at 11:30, and didn't leave until around 3:30. Ate way too much, surprise, surprise.

After I left Bill and Sharon's, I went over to the nursing home to visit with Grandmom. I had to wake her up, but she seemed much better today. She recognized me quickly, didn't repeat herself too much, and generally seemed much more lively than yesterday. (Relatively speaking, of course. As lively as you might expect of a woman of nearly 90 recovering from a heart attack, anyway.) I stayed a good half-hour, and then the nurses came in to ask if she wanted to eat in her room or go downstairs for dinner, and much to my surprise, she opted to go down. So I waited while they got her into the wheelchair, and walked with them down to the dining room before saying my goodbyes. She thanked me many times for coming to see her, which made me wish I could do so more often.

Every time I leave her, I'm afraid it will be the last time. But at the same time, I have trouble staying for more than half an hour or so.

I should figure out something for dinner. I'm not remotely hungry - WAY too much food at brunch - but if I don't eat at least a little something, I'll regret it later, I expect. My original plan had been to go wander the streets of Midtown and see what appealed to me, maybe take some photos as I go. But right now, nothing sounds appealing, and I'd rather read than wander. (Thus does my homebody personality assert itself in basic laziness.) Maybe I'll give the hotel's fancy restaurant a go, and just have some soup.
 That's the end of my notes. but I did not wimp out on dinner. I lingered in the hotel until after seven, then decided I needed to eat something, and that it wasn't very likely that I would get home and wish I'd spent more time in the hotel room, whereas I would certainly wish I'd spent more time looking around. So I levered myself out of the hotel, camera in hand. I took a lot of nice early-evening pictures as I wandered around, and finally stopped at a sandwich shop and had half a sandwich and some lovely tomato bisque soup, along with herbed lemonade, which was different and really neat. (It had mint and star anise and I want to say some rosemary in it.) By then, it was deep twilight, so I walked slowly back to the hotel, taking pictures of stuff. It was actually a really nice evening, and I'm glad I did it.

The next morning, I woke (unwilling, having been unaware that the hotel staff had set and turned on the alarm clock for me) to a gorgeous sunrise. Apparently, Atlanta wants me to come back.

No comments: