Monday, January 26, 2009

Small and In Charge

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That's What It's All About

Saturday started off on the wrong foot or wheel. Jason and Debbie had an appointment at the local Hyundai dealer at 3 p.m. so Jaci and I needed to be in Columbus at 2:30. We set off around 12:15 with the weather being cloudy and cold. Suddenly, on I-271 we hit a snowstorm. Around the rest area, at mile marker 8, all traffic stops. We pulled through the rest area and wait on the entrance ramp for over an hour. We see two ambulances and tow trucks go by. Over an hour goes by, eventually three middle schoolers play hockey on the interstate. People get out of their cars and go to the rest area. Jaci called Debbie and told her that we will be late. Jason rescheduled the appt. When we finally got past the accident, only one vehicle was left. Within a half mile we are on dry pavement. Five mile later sunlight hits the car. We must have hit a cell at the wrong time. We arrived in Columbus around 3:15 while the little guy is taking his nap.

Jason and Debbie go off to take a test drive in an Elantra. Jason woke up and gave Grandma a long snuggle. Jason and Debbie came back before we left. They both liked the car, so it looks like they will get it. Dealers are desperate so now is a good time to get a car. Jason asked me whether they should trade in the Lumina or the Focus since the two of them disagree on which car to get rid of. I said to take both to the dealer and whichever one has the higher trade value, trade that in. Time will tell what decision they make. Jason and Debbie were unable to get reservations at the fondue restaurant, so they headed off to Texas Roadhouse for supper. The little guy knows that when Grandma and Goosh come, he has fun, so no problem with Mommy and Daddy leaving. Jaci, Smoochie and I made for Polaris Mall with Smoochie helping Gramps drive. Jason kept track of the red lights and green lights telling Gramps, “red stop” and “green go.” He counted two or three lights. He had problems getting past three. When we go on the freeway, Grandma sang to him. We had multiple performances of There Was a Farmer Had a Dog and Bingo Was His Name-O.

We had dinner at the food court. Jason can get his chicken nuggets there and make as much noise as he wants. After the meal, Smoochie and Gramps went to the men’s room to wash hands. We limited the hand washing to one but used a handful of paper towels to dry. We used up one towel dispenser and had to go to another. Going back to Grandma, Jason did the weak knee bit. That is the one where the kid is suddenly unable to walk. Gramps gets tired of THAT real quick. We all went to the play area which has things to climb on and go under and slides. Smoochie had fun for over an hour although he was intimidated by all the loud hyper-active kids. And he finally said, “Grandma.” Standing on a big rock, he said, “hi Gamma.” A lot happens in a couple of weeks. We put our coats on outside of Sears and Grandma thought that she heard him say, “S E.” He did not repeat that. On the way back to home, Jason wanted Grandma to sing B I N G O. Jason clapped and sang with her.

Back in Jason and Debbie’s house, Grandma and Gramps taught Jason a new song, the Hokey-Pokey. The first time, Goosh moved Blondie’s body parts. Smoochie wanted to do it again, so Grandma, Smoochie and Gramps lined up for the song. Smoochie had a blast moving although he mixed up left and right. Jason and Debbie returned while the performance was going on. They applauded when it was over and the little guy gave his Mommy a hug. Grandma and Gramps had given Blondie a Step 2 Cottage for Christmas along with a extra people. This cottage is about the size of a dollhouse and contains bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom. We did not know it when we bought it but the cottage makes noises. The door bell rings, the TV blasts, the phone rings and the stove sizzles. Smoochie showed Grandma and Gramps how everything works. There is one baby but the male figures are Daddy and all the female ones are Mommy. Smoochie had two Mommies and one Daddy go into the house, close the door and ring the doorbell. He had the Daddy watch television and have the phone ring. Then Daddy went to bed for a nap. He put each person on the potty and describe what happened followed by the stove sound which sounds like a toilet flushing. He played with his cottage for a while. Grandma sang the People on the Bus. Grandma now has Smoochie facing her when she sings so that she does not get clobbered when the wipers go swish, swish, swish and the driver says “move on back.” We finally left after 10:00. We got home tired but happy. We hope to return next Saturday, if Jaci does not work.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Stuck Inside

Jaci and I traveled to Columbus on Sunday since the weather on Saturday was too bad for driving. Jaci read at 8 a.m. Mass and we left shortly afterward. We decided to meet Jason, Debbie and Jason for breakfast at First Watch. Jaci and I arrived at 12:30 and I put our name among a huge crowd. 20 minutes later, Debbie’s Focus pulled into the parking lot. I went out to get Smoochie. While I was out, our name was called and Jaci went to our table. Four Hoaglands walked in and sat down at the table. After we ordered, off went Smoochie and Goosh to the men’s room. We washed and dried our hands twice. The little guy liked seeing the paper towels come out of the automatic towel dispenser. He wanted Goosh to keep the towels coming. Goosh decided that two paper towels were enough. Goosh showed Smoochie how to toss paper towels in the waste basket. Blondie stuck to just putting the paper towels in the basket. He was all set to wash a third time when Goosh told him that he had to show Grandma his clean hands. That was how we got out of the men’s room with no complaint. Smoochie walked up to Grandma and stuck his hands in her face. She had to admire the cleanest hands of any two-year-old. We got through breakfast with Smoochie saying hi to the servers. After breakfast, Smoochie and Goosh had to wash their hands, again. This time, Blondie brought a napkin with him to put in the waster basket. We once again completely washed our hands twice. We went back to the table to show Grandma clean hands that she had to admire, again. Then Jason Jr went with Grandma and Goosh to his home with the little guy telling Goosh to stop at red lights and go at green lights. At home, Goosh took Smoochie to his room for a nap. Smoochie listens to a CD during nap time but Goosh was not allowed to turn the CD on. Jason had to turn the CD on, start play and push the repeat button. Then he had to turn the night light on. After reading an Elmo book, Smoochie laid down to rest.

The real reason why Jaci and I went to Columbus was to return a microwave that we bought for Jason and Debbie. While the little guy was sleeping, Jason, Debbie and I went off to Costco. We returned the one microwave and they picked out a 1.2 cubic foot model. We did some more shopping and came back to Jason and Debbie’s house, following a Plymouth Acclaim on Stelzer and Agler. Jason replaced the current microwave with the new one and he set the counter space to how he wanted the kitchen utensils and such. The four grown-ups relaxed until the little guy woke up. Smoochie became the entertainment.

Goosh wants everyone to know that he is not the only one to teach the grandson habits that his parents do not want him to have. Grandma showed him how to slide down stairs on his bottom. I say no more. Grandma sang her songs to Smoochie: the Bus Song and Hootchie Kootchie Fishie Dance song. Blondie played for while in HIS kitchen. He poured coffee, which he calls “hot juice”, for Grandma and Goosh. Goosh got "milk" in his. Debbie got out the little guy’s Sit and Spin. He does not know how to work it. He fell off when it moved. He ran from the kitchen to the living room and back. He ran up to his father and pushed him down. The two of them do that somewhat regularly. With original Jason on his back, I picked up the younger version and held him about a foot above his Dad. I dropped the little guy much his Dad’s surprise. I asked Smoochie if wanted to do that again and he said no which was more than OK with the elder Jason. At one time, Blondie got so excited he stood in the living room and spun around for many times. He got thirsty, so he opened the fridge to get some juice but that is not allowed. We got a full blown temper tantrum. Grandma and Goosh were not impressed. They have seen plenty of tantrums. Goosh emptied the styrofoam and plastic pieces out of the microwave box and put it on the floor on its side. Grandma asked Smoochie if he wanted to hide. He crawled into the microwave box and closed the two flaps. Grandma asked, “where’s Jason?” Jason burst out of the box and ran up to Grandma and gave her a hug. He must be over his fear of enclosed places if he hide in a box with flaps closed. This went on for like 10 minutes. Jason got to a point where he snuck up on Grandma. We wonder what he is thinking, does he think that he is fooling his Grandma.

Original Jason fixed dinner. It was cream of potato soup from scratch. That was good. The little guy ate some. Grandma gave him a cookie which we bought earlier in the week. It was a sugar cookie with a frosting picture of Lightning McQueen from Cars. He ate the whole cookie. Grandma and Goosh had to leave because they had to go to work the next day. Jaci and King came home with more pleasant memories.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Holy Cow

On Sunday, Jason and Debbie put their Christmas decorations away. With the limited space available, they are stored in the garage on plywood that is lain across the beams under the roof. Original Jason uses a ladder to climb up and put things away. Smoochie decided that Daddy needed his help so he was all set to climb the ladder, too. Mommy convinced him not to climb the ladder so he spent his time running around the garage. While Jason was putting boxes away, he said, “Holy Cow!” Blondie immediately picked this up and went around saying, “Daddee holy cow, Daddee holy cow, Daddee holy cow.” He still refuses to say “Grandma” after months of prodding.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Smoochie in his Car (on the grass)

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At the Zoo

Jason and Debbie asked Jaci and I to come down on Saturday, January 3, for two reasons. The first was to help change Smoochie’s crib to a day bed and two to go to the zoo that evening. Jason wanted to alter the bed before nap time but, as usual, Jaci and I were delayed. We took the Altima since it has a bigger trunk than the Camry. I went to the Tekavecs the previous evening to load up on gifts that had been left behind at that house which included a bread machine. At the stately Hoagland manor, I put in the rocking chair and easel. The easel and bread machine were in the back seat. Jaci and I were going to stop for beakfast on the way but Jaci was uneasy about leaving the car in the parking lot with stuff visible in the back seat. Jaci called Debbie and asked if she and Jason would like to meet us for breakfast at First Watch near their house. We all agreed to meet at First Watch and for Jason and Debbie to bring an afghan to cover the items in the back seat. Jaci called when we got to Sunbury so that we could meet at the same time.

Jaci and I got to First Watch before Jason and Debbie. This was around 12:30. We found two empty parking spaces side-by-side. I put the Altima in both spots while we waited for Jason and Debbie to show up. By this time bunches of people came into the parking lot for lunch. I am sure everyone was annoyed with us although I did not see any hand gestures. Eventually, Debbie’s Focus arrived and we parked next to each other. The items in the back seat got covered and Jason put our name in. By now, we had a long wait. Original Jason and Goosh played a new game called Run the Smoochie. Jason and I stood apart. Blondie ran to his Dad and got a hug, Then Jason Junior ran to his Gramps and got a hug. Then to Dad, to Goosh and so on for about 10 minutes. Goosh and Smoochie demonstrated their backwards walk and sideways walk. The little guy needs to work on his sideways walk. After that we went for a walk along the storefronts. Jaci and Debbie followed us and I realized that no one was standing by the restaurant door. We all trooped inside First Watch to wait. Since we still had time, the little guy sat on Grandma’s lap and they sang “People on the Bus.” Smoochie’s favorite line is “the baby on the bus goes ‘waa waa waa.’” After what seemed like we had waited all afternoon, we sat at a table. We put in our order and Smoochie and Goosh went off to wash hands. We washed and dried and washed and dried. We got back to the table to show Grandma the cleanest hands of any two-year-old. Now Smoochie turned his charm on the servers. Anyone who went by got a hi with particular attention directed at the young ladies. They were charmed by him. I wonder if the charm will still work in sixteen years. After the meal, Smoochie and Goosh had to wash hands one more time. Original Jason paid the bill and we left for the Hoagland homestead.

By the time that we reached Jason and Debbie’s house, it was nap time. While the little guy rested, his Dad and I put together part of the low rails assembly. When Jason awoke, his Dad and I took the high rail down and installed the low rail. Actually, this was a five person job. Two people to install the new equipment, one little guy with a screwdriver and two people to make sure that no person or object was poked with a screwdriver. It was now evening so off we headed for the zoo. Smoochie and his grandparents followed his Mom and Dad. Young Jason displayed how much he learned in just one week. He knows the difference between three green lights and two green lights. He also knows that the green arrow means go for some people. He will go into management some day. When a traffic light changes from red to green, he says “GREEN! GO!” We have to be careful. If he decides he has waited long enough, he says “GREEN!” when the light is still red.

We got to the zoo with much of Columbus. The Columbus Zoo has an annual event called the Wildlights which has trees, bushes and buildings decorated with lights including LED lights. The highlight (pun intended) of the night is a light and music show around the pond. The entire Hoagland family enjoyed the show. Blondie’s two favorite zoo attractions were the aquarium and the petting area. At the aquarium, Goosh and Smoochie got right up to the window. The little guy stared at the big fish, yellow fish, odd shaped fish and all the other fish. At times he’d follow one fish and then a big fish would swim in front of him and he’d jump. He was not scared, just surprised. Goosh’s aging joints prevent him from squatting for long. The petting area had a goat out. Young Jason gently petted the animal. I do not think the goat frightened him but he had respect for it. We ended our visit around 9:00 and headed for Max and Erma’s for dinner.

At Max and Erma’s while original Jason and I gave the server the food and drink orders, Smoochie with Mom and Grandma went to the ladies room for a diaper change. After the little guy was put back together, he provided commentary of what Mom and Grandma were doing. A twenty something wearing six inch stilettos came in. Jason was all set to join her. I am sure that she thought that she was free from family time at 9:30 at night. The Hoaglands left and Jason was quite willing to turn the lights off. That would have been a big surpise. Blondie went with Dad and Goosh to wash hands when the meal was over. The families went their separate ways around 10:30. Jaci and King arrived home tired but happy with more memories.

Postscript: Debbie called Sunday and said that she and Jason forgot to tell us that the microwave that we got them has too big a footprint for their counter. Jaci and I said that we will have to come back this Saturday and return it to the local Costco. We can make it a family trip. We might as well get as many visits as we can before February rolls around.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Smoochie in Santa Hat

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A Smoochie Christmas

Jason, Debbie and Jason started Christmas day in Columbus with a gift exchange between the three of them. Piling gifts and family into Debbie’s Focus, early in the afternoon they traveled to the home of Debbie’s brother and sister-in-law, Dan and Cathy, in Parma for and a Christmas celebration between the sets of in-laws. Jason, Debbie and a sleeping Smoochie showed up at the stately Hoagland manor around 7 p.m. Blondie was carried in by Dad. In the vestibule, Jason heard the ticking of our grandfather clock. He whispered, “tick tock.” That was it. He was awake. We had the Hoagland gift exchange with the Columbus contingent, Matthew, and Jaci’s sister, Patti. The party broke up after 9 before all the gifts had been handed out. Debbie, Jason and Jason went to bed at the Tekavecs. We all met for breakfast the next morning. Young Jason flirted with the server by saying hi when she came by and bye when she left. He helped me pay the bill at the cash register. We retreated to home to distribute the remainder of the presents. Part 2 went well. Jason and Debbie received a microwave. The final gift was when Blondie opened a bag in the driveway to find a Toddle Tune Coupe. He fell in love immediately and went for a spin on the sidewalk. We had a tantrum when he was pulled from his car. He needed a nap.

The Tekavec Christmas celebration was on Saturday which started at the home of Debbie’s sister, Sandy. Jason and Jason left Sandy’s house in the Focus to go to the Tekavec house which involved passing the Hoagland house. The Focus stalled near Belwood. At this time, Jaci, Patti and I were at Jean’s house in Willoughby. The Focus ended up in our driveway. Smoochie knew where he was. He hollered, “OUT! OUT! OUT!” The two Jasons got a ride to the Tekavecs. That evening, Jason and his father-in-law, Matt, came by to check out the car. We found that Jason gave the Focus a Christmas gift of premium gas. We decided that the Focus’s computer chip could not handle the high octane gas and altered the fuel mixture and caused the stalling out. Jason and Matt drove the car to the Tekavecs and by Sunday, it was fine. Jason was able to meet Matthew for breakfast and Debbie, Blondie, Patti, Jaci and I met for breakfast at Original Pancake House.

Remember when I told you that Smoochie was scared of public bathrooms. No more. While waiting for our food, he and I went to the men’s room to wash our hands. We washed and dried our hands twice. I had to drag him out of the men’s room with a tantrum. Debbie heard this from a way’s off and said, “that is mine.” The food still had not arrived, so we went back to wash our hands one more time. Jason helped a gentleman at the sink by pointing out where the soap was. I now had a little guy with the cleanest hands of any two-year-old. Our server was the recipient of some flirting. We went to the cash register to pay although he was more interested in the waste basket than in paying. To distract him, I gave him the receipt to give to Grandma. We eventually left and dropped Debbie at her parent’s to get stuff together to go home. Patti, Jaci and I took Smoochie to our house to wear him out for the trip home. We let him ride in his car on the patio. He preferred riding on the grass and colliding with the house to going on the patio. Jason and Debbie came by with a very full car to pick up Jason. Jaci and I crashed when they left. Patti went back to Louisville on Monday and dropped off the car and microwave in Columbus. Jason drove it up and down the sidewalk. Jaci and I will go to Columbus on Saturday with the gifts that did not fit. Jaci and I continue to talk about our memories.