Friday 30th November
I got up at 6am in order to pack all our things so we could get to the airport in time, But Jeremy decided on sleeping in instead, so after I packed a couple things, I wrote and updated my blog until Jeremy got up at around 6:45am.
We’d finished packing everything after 8am, which is the time I’d wanted to leave, so I ended up insisting that we take a taxi to LaGuardia airport. $35 was certainly more expensive than the $4 we paid for the bus, but at least it gave me peace of mind that we got to the airport on time. I must’ve misread our itinerary, or the flight schedules had changed since we booked the flights, because I thought we were flying on US Airways again. When we went to check in, we were told we had to go back to United, in a different terminal, and the flight left at 10:30am rather than 10:55am like I thought. Well, lucky we had enough time to do that!
When we checked in, they seated us 3 rows from the back of the plane, but they put a seat between me and Jeremy in the hope that no one else would be seated there, so Doyle could use it. On the plane we got exactly that. I wonder if they were being nicer this time because I complained to them about the Rio-Dulles flight?
We didn’t actually leave until the time we thought we were going to on the itinerary anyway, and got into Denver fifteen minutes later than our itinerary had suggested. They also didn’t have any baby change tables in any of the lavatories on the flights, which I’d thought was most inconvenient. It meant I had to change Doyle’s nappy twice upon getting to the car rental place (the second time was because he doesn’t like to do number 2 in an already full nappy).
The car I’d booked apparently didn’t include the insurance costs, so it cost us more than twice what I was expecting. This meant that Jeremy decided against paying an extra $35 a day to let me drive as well. I guess I’ll have to wait until I’m 25 to drive in another country. At least it’s only a year away now. They gave us a free upgrade to a better car, though, because they didn’t have any of the type I’d booked left to loan us.
So as soon as we sorted out a decent car seat for Doyle, we headed off on the interstate to Laramie, Wyoming. It wasn’t too long before it got dark. And it was pitch black I reckon by 5:30pm. We passed by a Lincoln Monument on the interstate between Cheyenne and Laramie that I didn’t even realise was there, but I didn’t get lost at all on our way. I should hope not, considering I pretty much lived in Laramie for 3 months in 2004-05. We took the Grand Ave exit into Laramie and passed Walmart, then stopped in at Burger King for dinner. We hadn’t eaten much of anything all day because we were still full from dinner last night at breakfast, and we didn’t want to pay for the food they tried to sell us on the plane. By dinner all we’d eaten was plane pretzels, half a square bagel, and some tiny cream cookies. Burger King had certainly changed a bit since I’d worked there, and I don’t think anyone was left that I knew from the time I’d worked there. I asked about one of the employees and was told that, whilst he was still in town, he wasn’t working there any more. Now I think about it, I think someone might’ve told me that before. Doyle got a free Spongebob toy even though we only got him strawberry applesauce rather than an entire kids meal. Score!
Then we headed to Safeway to get some essential groceries before heading to my Uncle Jerry’s place. He was the only relative we met today because, of course, Grandma had died two and a half weeks earlier. It was a bit bizarre arriving at Grandma’s house and not being able to see her. Doyle as a little shy and hesitant about Jerry at first, and also the dog Sasha. But he warmed up pretty quickly, and absolutely adored both of them by the time he went to bed.
We ended up spending the night at Jerry’s, sleeping in Grandma’s old, small bed, because my brother Dion had decided to go out drinking rather than seeing us and letting us stay at his place. It was okay, it was just a really small bed.
Saturday 1st December
Doyle ended up kicking Jeremy out of bed again. How is it possible that he could do that when we already had a small enough bed as it was? Jeremy had to sleep in Doyle’s tent. Doyle’s sleeping habits are now getting beyond ridiculous, and I can only hope it won’t take too long for him to get back into the swing of things when we get home to Australia.
We hung out at Jerry’s until after we’d had lunch, hoping Dion would have come around before then. But we couldn’t be bothered waiting any longer for him to turn up, so we went to my Aunt Kayce and Uncle Randy’s place, where we met them and my cousin Dani. Kayce and Dani were absolutely thrilled to meet Doyle, but he was again a bit hesitant, until he knew it was safe. He seemed a little more interested by Dani’s kitten.
So we stuck around Kayce’s place until Dion came around (though Jeremy went back to Jerry’s to change Doyle’s nappy for a little while, and came back at the same time Dion did) and we all caught up with each other. I discovered that Dion hadn’t seen this part of the family since last Thanksgiving; more than a year ago – and he only lives a block and a half away! We’d asked Dion is it would be okay for us to stay at his place from now on, but were then offered a room at Kayce’s place to stay instead. Since Dion was worried about Doyle bothering his study time, we decided to take up Kayce’s offer.
Then we headed out to downtown Laramie because he wanted to see the “wild west” but it wasn’t wild west enough for him, so we just picked up some brochures from the tourist information centre before heading to Walmart to get some more groceries. The weather was fine when we went in, but it was snowing by the time we left. It wasn’t too bad driving in the snow, but I hope we won’t have to drive in it too deep.
So we went back to Jerry’s to collect our things, leaving a sleeping baby in our car while we did so, then drove around the corner to Kayce’s place to unpack again, treading through half an inch of snow and accidentally trekking it into the house when we entered. Dani and Kayce kindly looked after Doyle while Jeremy and I ate our dinner, and Doyle had lots of fun with them. He also became best friends with Dani’s kitten – they are so cute together! He even tried saying “cat.”
It wasn’t until we tried to give Doyle a bath tonight that we realised we left his towel behind in New York. We seem to be leaving something behind everywhere now. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to buy him a new one.
Sunday 2nd December
Aunt Kayce had a cot we could use for Doyle and although he probably slept a little better than he has been, he still ended up in our bed by the end of the night.
Doyle is definitely becoming more active now. He’s been crawling all about downstairs, and pulling himself along the furniture to help him to walk. He probably would’ve been more active sooner if we hadn’t always been on the move, carrying him in his harness or pushing him in his stroller the majority of the time. So I think it’s good we’ve got this sort of break from all the rushing to give him the chance to learn all this mobility.
We didn’t head out today until just after lunch, when we went to visit my Great Aunt Vi and Great Uncle Arthur (Doyle’s Great, Great Aunt and Uncle). Aunt Vi is one of my Grandma’s sisters. She had several, but most of them have passed away now. While at Aunt Vi’s, we got to see all of her collections of figurines, cabbage patch dolls, beanie babies, music boxes and so forth. Sadly, she is talking about selling her things because she can’t keep up with the cleaning of them all the time. She also gave us some leftover Halloween candy (well, chocolate was our choice) – I gave a lollypop still in plastic to Doyle, too, but he eventually worked out how to get the plastic off. For that act of cleverness, I let him suck on it for a little while. Until it got too messy that Aunt Vi took it off him and Jeremy cleaned him up. Aunt Vi also had some really neat toys for Doyle to play with, so he had an absolute ball. Uncle Arthur told us some tall tales and silly jokes, and showed us some ‘magic’ tricks. Then their son Mark and his wife came around and we got to see them. Also my dad’s cousin Kathy, my second cousin and Doyle’s third cousin, had just come up from Colorado to look after her mom, my Great Aunt Cora, so she came around to see us as well. She said we should come stay at her place in Colorado for a night when we return there next week, so we said we would. Doyle fell asleep while we were there, so we didn’t leave until he woke up.
When we headed off from Aunt Vi’s, we followed Kathy to Aunt Cora’s place so we could see her, and also Kathy’s sister Margie, who looks after Aunt Cora on the opposite weeks that Kathy does. Aunt Cora has Alzheimer’s, but she seemed to do well to remember me when we first arrived. I could tell how much her daughters care for her, too, as they were very patient with her when she asked the same question several times. It was kind of cute, though, and she adored Doyle – even if she did think he was a girl half the time. So we took some photos of them together.
Several people have spoken up to say how much Grandma would’ve loved to have met Doyle, she would’ve loved him, and it just makes it all the more sad that she couldn’t. Margie gave me a copy of the newspaper that had her obituary in it, and I read it when we got back to Aunt Kayce’s. We all got a mention – my dad, Elyse, Dion, me, even Jeremy and Doyle. It was a nice obituary and I felt captured her essence – everything I knew her to be. I was glad to have been given a copy, and I’ll be taking it home for my dad and sister to read, too. My siblings and I were made honorary pallbearers because we weren’t able to attend the funeral (I think Dion may have been out of town). Uncle Jerry was at Kayce’s when we got back, too, so we got to see him again. Didn’t have time to see Dion, though, but we’ll probably see him tomorrow – especially if Brenda is still meant to be coming down.
Uncle Randy made us a very yummy dinner, and then Jeremy and I settled down to watch the first part of the Tin Man miniseries, which is a new take on the Wizard of Oz story. It’s very different from the original film, but I like it. Hopefully we’ll be able to sit down tomorrow night and watch the rest.