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.