Jeff and I are in San Diego at Grandpa Vern's house. Jeff comes every 2-3 months to help out around the house, visit Grandpa, and soak up some San Diego sunshine (albeit often on the rooftop while sweeping away raccoon poop). Every once in a while, we find a screamin' deal on plane tickets and I join him.
I like Grandpa's house, for a variety of reasons:
1. It's REALLY clean and neat. Everything in its place.
2. It's like a museum - around every corner there is something interesting and/or antique to look at.
3. It's quiet. SO quiet. Ahhhhh........
4. "Our" bedroom is huge - as is the bathroom - and it's like staying in a hotel, even though the surroundings are more 1980's than The Ritz.
5. The routine - grandpa gets up early, has cereal, tea and toast, goes to read his paper or watch the news, sits outside to feed "Old Blue" and the other jays, watches TV, has lunch at noon, naps or reads or watches some more TV, has dinner at 5:30, watches some more TV, and goes to bed. It's calm and predictable and it's nice to jump off the crazy bandwagon once in a while and enjoy a quiet routine with simple pleasures (Sara Lee snack cakes, anyone?), even though I tend to rise later since I'm "on vacation" and grandpa questions me about it every time. Bless his heart.
6. The stories. Grandpa has a story every minute and his mind and memory for details is still pretty sharp. He's had some amazing experiences, as anyone who has enjoyed 93 years on this Earth is bound to have, and his stories never cease to amaze me.
7. The generation gap. He is roughly twice my age and the differences in generational beliefs are apparent. He has mentioned how our girls might become "legal secretaries" and how in order to get ahead in life, girls need to go to college, while boys have it easier and can just go to work. LOL, grandpa. You're funny!
8. The dedication of my husband. It never ceases to amaze me how dedicated Jeff is to helping his grandpa, how his strong emotional ties to this house and property motivate him because of the memories he holds dear, and how he spends hours in the hot sun laboring away (or swinging from tree branches, depending on the day) and never complains or gets tired. He loves being here, he loves his grandpa, and he loves working around a home that holds his fondest childhood memories.
9. Grandpa has WiFi now. Praise Jesus!
10. The surroundings. Mt. Helix is in the distance, the beach is not far away, the sun almost always shines, and even though the landscape is depressingly brown for my Washington heart, the casual comfort of California is enough to cheer anyone up. It's nice here.
11. Grandpa likes his sweets as much as I do, so there's never a lack of treats around here.
So, while I only get to experience it once in a while (it's been a year and a half since I last visited), I am appreciating the quiet, no-stress vacation. We've already done the major tourist attractions, so there's rarely a need to feel rushed or like we need to fit something in. We'll drive up to Oceanside to visit Jeff's grandma and aunt, make a trip to the beach so he can surf on his longboard he acquired on his last trip here, and just enjoy some long, lazy days. The perfect prescription for relaxation before we head back to start up a new school year with a new job (me), a house full of teenagers, and all the busy-ness and chaos our life brings. So, for now..........ahhhhhh!