As I mentioned before, our trip to Pennsylvania was a successful one. We went because my grandmother, my dad's mom, turned 90. As it's not every day that a family member turns 90, we felt we should be there. Well, that and it was presented by my dad as something we really didn't have a choice about.
I must admit that I wasn't exactly looking forward to the trip. Yes, the children weathered the trip to NY at Thanksgiving, however in that case, we all had our own rooms and in this case, we were all sharing a room at the Econolodge. A room, that, in the end, had several HBO channels, but nothing other than two shelves upon which to place our clothing. The lodgings ended up being the nightmare I thought it would be with the kids not getting to sleep until around 10 every night (a good two to two and a half hours past their normal bedtime) and because they're incapable of sharing a bed without bugging each other, Linda and I had to share a bed with a child. Not sure if you've ever watched a kid sleep, but they're all over the place. Just as I was nodding off on Friday night, my son kicked me in the spine, and he was facing away from me. It was not fun. Then, because they weren't getting to bed until late, and the paper thin walls made them not sleep so well, and then they got up early, neither one of them were in the best of moods. Luckily, they reserved this bad mood for us and us alone and were very, very good around family.
This is a good thing because we were around family quite a bit. This was the first time in a long time since all of the grandkids were together, and the first time ever that all of the great-grandkids were together. It was nice to see my aunts and uncles and all of my cousins, but mostly, it was nice to see my grandmother so happy. It really meant a lot to her that we were all able to be there and if it meant spending the weekend with two tired, cranky children, it was a price well worth paying.
Some highlights of the trip included:
A trip to Primanti Bros.
I first heard of this place on the excellent PBS show "Sandwiches That You Will Like". The thing about a Primanti Bros. sandwich is the layer of fries they put on it. In retrospect, I should have gotten something other than corned beef as the spicy sausage was speaking to me, and in these situations, when the sausage speaks to me, I really should listen. As it turned out, the coleslaw and fries had less flavor than I thought they would have, and corned beef is rather mild. The spice of some sausage would have been just the thing. It was still a good sandwich, and quite filling, and I'm glad I was able to knock 1/23rd of the likable sandwiches off the list.
Steve and Barry's everything for under $8.98 sale
Steve and Barry's is a clothing store that, from what I can gather, has these sales where everything in the store is $8.98 or less. Not sure how much things are regularly, but when I say everything was under nine bucks, I mean everything. T-shirts, dress shirts, pants, coats, kids' clothes, outerware, you name it, it's nine bucks. It's a nice store too, with a clothing line from Sarah Jessica Parker, Venus Williams and Stephan Marbury to name a few. They also have a very nice collection of pop culture and superhero t-shirts. I bought two ringer t-shirts and Ben and I bought matching Captain America t-shirts. As I understand it, the plan is for us to wear them on Friday. Oh joy!
My grandmother beating up my daughter with balloons
I know this sounds strange and believe me, it was strange to watch. So it's the end of my grandmother's birthday party and the kids are all running around with the balloons used to decorate the place. I'm talking to my cousin about what I don't remember, when I hear all this laughing and my cousin points behind me and says "Look what your grandmother is doing with your daughter." I turn around to find that they've gotten in a balloon fight with one another and my grandmother is beating the crap out of my kid with balloons. She's just wailing my daughter in the head with them while Abby laughs hysterically and tries frantically to overcome the height differential. It seems strange, but seeing that really made the trip worth it. My grandmother was having such a good time, as was my kid and everyone else watching it, and dammit, if you can manage to get yourself to 90, you should be able to do just about anything you want to at your party, even if that includes wailing on a three year old with balloons.
Technically you wouldn't consider that part of the trip, but with this crew, any trip you come home alive from is a good one.