Sunday, January 13, 2019

Family In the Snow

I awoke to a world of whiteness out my door. It started snowing even as I was shutting down my computer last night. By the time I was rolling out of bed, it was up to...the expected one or two inches. It was still snowing around 7, but not heavily.

Rose called while I was writing in my journal. She and Craig were taking some furniture that Mom didn't want home with them, plus their second car doesn't drive well in snow. She had to borrow Dad and Jodie's car and would be a little late.

I made banana pancakes for my Sunday breakfast this morning. Yum! They came out beautifully, fluffy and just sweet enough. I didn't even burn them. I ate them while listening to the soundtrack from Frozen. I figured that was appropriate for a wintry morning. I heard so much about the music and how good it was when the movie came out, I had to buy the soundtrack. You may be sick of hearing about it (especially since there's supposed to be a sequel coming out in November), but the music really is that good. Along with the hit "Let It Go" for Elsa, I like the heartbreaking "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" that details how Elsa and Anna's relationship deteriorated after Anna's accident and Hans and Anna's "Love Is an Open Door."

Switched to one of my Disney music CD collections while doing the dishes. Rose called again and said she'd be there by 10:30. I got tired of waiting at 10:30 and went downstairs. She still wasn't there when I arrived. She didn't come until nearly quarter of 11. She had Khai and Finley with her; Craig took his car.

Khai spent most of the ride down playing with his Nintendo Switch and asking questions from his long, thin questions-and-answers booklet. Finley slept most of the way. I kept an eye on her while Rose took Khai to the bathroom and to get a drink at a rest stop. (I wasn't that thirsty and didn't need to go at that point.) We took the Atlantic City Expressway and Garden State Parkway to avoid the messier back roads. There was a little more snow further down south, maybe two inches to our one. Indeed, it started snowing and sleeting again as we were on the Atlantic City Expressway, though it was gone by the time we rolled into North Cape May.

Anny and her tribe moved into a much larger house on Bayshore Road, North Cape May's main artery, a few weeks before Thanksgiving. I remember riding by it on the way to the Villas Library or to visit my former friend Brigid in the Villas when we lived in North Cape May in the 90's and early 2000's. It was a doctor's office for years.

It's a somewhat larger version of the split-level house we lived in when we were in North Cape May. Four-year-old Lilah and her fourteen-year-old brother Skylar have rooms downstairs; ten-year-old Collyn is upstairs next to his parents. A guest bedroom shares space with a workshop for Jay's building and Anny's art projects. The boys huddled in Skylar's room for the next hour or so after we arrived, playing Fortnite with Collyn's dad Mike. (Skylar played the online version.)

Lilah spent that hour showing me her very pink and white room. Her big thing right now is unicorns and mythological creatures. If it's sparkly, has four legs, and a horn on its head, she loves it. Her mother even painted a cute purple unicorn on her wall, and she got a beautiful white bed made to look like a fence for Christmas. I was introduced to her Barbie, Frozen, and Disney Princess dolls, her My Little Pony collection, and almost every stuffed unicorn and pegasus in her room. (Including a unicorn on the bed that was bigger than she was!) She was so enthusiastic and just too adorable.

Everyone else was upstairs, playing Nintendo in the big living room or talking to Mom, including my brother Keefe, who came up here from Virginia with his girlfriend Julia. Anny and Mom laid out rolls and fixings to make hoagies in the kitchen. I had a provolone and roast beef hoagie with lettuce and pickles. (The rolls weren't that big - there was no room for tomatoes.) There were bags of Utz's multi-grain tortilla chips (yum, Mom likes those, too), Doritos, and pretzels to snack on, along with sugar cookies and Mom's famous chocolate chip bars and snickerdoodles.

After lunch, Lilah and I played in the living room while the boys went back to video games and the moms set up the cake. She had not one, but two play cake sets that she wanted to show me. We naturally had to pretend that the cakes were Lilah's real cakes and deliver them to everyone in the kitchen to try!

We had the real cake, ice cream, and ice cream cake around 2. We're actually celebrating three birthdays in the family this month. Apparently, Craig and Jay have birthdays soon, too, along with Lilah's on Thursday. Lilah requested a Carvel ice cream cake. Craig and Jay shared a Superman cake that said "For a Super-Dad on his birthday" that Anny picked up from the North Cape May Acme. It was yummy, too! A marble cake with lots of red, white, blue, and yellow icing. The North Cape May Acme always did make the best cakes, even when I was in high school and Lower Cape May Regional would order them for class parties.

Lilah opened her presents after we ate. Her largest gift was a big tent that you can not only set up in your bedroom, but comes with fabric pens that lets you make your own design on it. Along with her fondness for unicorns, Lilah also apparently shares her mother's love of art. Her dad gave her a big case of Crayola art supplies that she wanted to open and try right away. Other gifts included an I Spy Christmas book, a stuffed unicorn, and gift cards and small sticker books from her nana.

Collyn, whose birthday was last month, got a snowboard from Rose and Craig that had been too big to send in the mail. He was dying to use it, and the kids were getting antsy anyway, so Craig, Jay, and I took Collyn, Khai, Lilah, and Finley outside to the front yard to play in the snow. Rose joined us a bit later with two sledding tubes they'd brought along. Lilah pulled out a penguin-shaped sled, and Collyn convinced Jay to pump up their sledding tube, which was shaped like two Starlight candies.

The snow was down to sleet and a gray sky by 3 PM, which made it slippery, but also excellent packing snow. I'm not sure how the snowball fight started. Lilah and I were just throwing a bit of snow at each other. Some of it hit Craig, then Collyn and Khai. They threw snow back...and before we knew it, everyone was slipping and sliding all over their front yard, throwing tightly-packed, half-sleet snowballs. Keefe came out and joined in, too, and Jay did when he finished with the tube. It was so funny. Rose and the little boys were on one side, while Lilah and I joined the big guys on the other. We all slipped and slid and threw snowballs everywhere. I hadn't laughed so hard in ages.

It was past 4 when we all trooped inside to dry off. Khai had so much fun playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with his cousins, he didn't want to leave. We agreed to let him play a few more rounds while the rest of us went over to Mom's to watch the first bit of the Eagles-Saints game and help her clear out a few items. She's also in the midst of getting rid of a bunch of stuff she no longer needs. I claimed an upright teddy bear cake pan, vintage candy molds, heart cupcake molds, a baked donut pan set (I'm willing to try something different with my baked goods), a basket, and a few winter and Christmas knick-knacks. Rose and Craig claimed these wonderful stoneware soup bowls we used to eat soup out of when we were kids and Dad's old chair for their living room.

(Incidentally, the Eagles were winning 14-0 when we were at Mom's. They were still up 14-7 when we were on the road. By the time I'd gotten home, the Saints had come back, and would go on to win 20-14, ending the Eagles' Super Bowl hopes for this year. Considering their up-and-down season, I'm just glad they made it this far.)

It was five and already dark when we finally picked up Khai and started home. Rose missed her exit at one point and we almost ended up in Wildwood, but she got us turned around quick enough. After that, there were no problems. Finley slept, Khai played Nintendo Switch, and I listened to my iPod. Since it was on our way home anyway, Rose stopped at the Audubon Acme to get a quick dinner for her kids. I have no desire to go in that Acme until I have to do my grocery shopping on Friday and agreed to watch the kids while she ran in. Poor little Finley woke up minutes later in a dark car with just her aunt and brother and got very upset! Her mom came back with a fragrant rotisserie chicken and got her calmed down.

I was so tired when I got home, I didn't really do much more than put most of my things away and go online. Finished the night with the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys and the soundtrack to Radioland Murders while chatting with Lauren online.

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