Off To Hollywood – Florida That Is!

Once we got settled in Washington, we reserved a flight to Fort Lauderdale and spent two weeks with the Gomez family. Our vacation was jammed packed. Sammy had her ballet debut in a local theater production. She also celebrated her 6th birthday, for which Sarah threw a wonderful party in their neighborhood Park. And finally, the timing was perfect for sharing Thanksgiving Day before we flew back.

After our reservation was set, we researched the best way to get ourselves to and from SEATAC. There were more options than one would think. We chose to Uber the 6.5 miles from Blue Sky to the transportation center in the Highlands. From there we’d take the #554 bus to 4th and Jackson in Seattle. After this stop, we’d walk 100 yards to the light rail station, catch the first train south, and get off at the airport station. Because we had an early morning plane departure, we dry ran this route (minus the Uber) to assure ourselves we’d know what to do and how long it would take. Extremely wise decision, because the walking distance from the airport station to ticketing was longer than we thought, so this additional time had to be cranked into our schedule. The morning we left, the 4:30 am Uber pick up was the only thing over which I unnecessarily stressed. We arrived at Delta ticketing in about 1 hour and 50 minutes…well on time and stress-free.

We Ubered from Fort Lauderdale to the kid’s house and pulled up just after dark. As our bags were unloaded, we looked at the living room window to see the heads of Sammy and Happy bouncing with excitement. The hugs we received were part of what grandparenting is all about. Unconditional love!

Sam absolutely loves ballet. She’s been taking lessons for several years, but entered a more technical school during 2023. Our first big family event was Sam’s debut in her school’s production of the “Nutcracker.” In the days before the performance, we were regaled with the dance for each of her three roles as a mouse, an angel, and a Polichinelle clown from under Mother Ginger’s skirt. But because she had also watched all the other dancers practicing their roles, she had learned them as well and entertained us with multiple hallway interpretations.

The ballet was wonderful, and Sam’s performances were excellent. She’s definitely inherited the “it” factor from her mother. She was very excited that her Papa Carl, Uncle Jonny (Michael’s younger brother), and Auntie Ailys (Jonny’s wife) also attended. It is safe to say the Gomez men haven’t been exposed to ballet. Michael more so because he asks questions, and Sarah answers have allow him to learn about what’s going on. When intermission occurred, I was tickled when Jonny asked, “Is it over?” And later when we were walking to the parking lot I asked Carl what he thought. He replied, “I don’t know a whole lot about ballet.” Perfectly okay and honest, because we were all there to watch and love on Sammy anyway.

We celebrated Sam’s Nutcracker-Themed birthday the very next afternoon. The weather was beautiful, and Sarah’s party arrangements went off without a hitch. She even hired a mobile coffee barista, which we (and the rest of the parents) thought was a stroke of sheer genius. He served all your normal custom coffees and offered fruit refreshers as well. There was a line of adults at his window almost the entire party. All we had to do was enjoy coffee, relax, and observe the festivities. We were very impressed with Sam as she individually greeted each of her friends as they arrived. Michael conducted a series of games for the kiddos and had them all squealing with delight. Everyone received a miniature nutcracker.

MFI committed to shopping for and cooking the entire Thanksgiving dinner, so Sarah and Michael could chill. That almost worked. Sarah prepared her special potato dish and some killer green beans. Aaron, a neighbor friend and his daughter Aliana, joined and brought alcohol. We all over-ate a terrific meal.

Sammy and Aliana really enjoyed the poppers Sarah added to the table setting.

We spent the rest of our time just being grandparents and helping out the adult kids when and where they needed us. Babysitting, so Michael and Sarah could have time together, was their preference on several occasions. We both really enjoyed walking the kids to school and picking them up a few times. Both schools are only four short blocks from the house. Always great conversations on these walks. Sometimes, we just sat on the porch and watched them play with the neighborhood kids or took them to a park. But most times, we simply subjected them to full-on spoiling.

Happy is the fourth grandchild to wear this gift (circa 1982) from friends we served with in Saudi Arabia.

During his life, my father often quoted dramatically (the only way he knew how), “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings,” when a child would come up with an unexpected humorous or profound statement worthy of remembering. It was Happy’s turn on this visit. He was watching TV on his parent’s bed, and as his dad entered from the backyard, Happy asked politely for some Gatorade. Michael said he’d get it and went off to the kitchen but was momentarily distracted by something. After a short time, we heard Happy politely shout from the bedroom, “I don’t hear my Gatorade coming!” My dad would have loved this moment.

Two weeks sped by all too quickly for us grands who live on the road, but what an enjoyable time. We landed at SEATAC too late for catching rail and ground transportation back to Issaquah, so MFI had reserved a room at the closest La Quinta Hotel. We reversed our route back to Blue Sky in the morning and arrived home completely stress-free.

My photo of a cool Seattle picture that was hanging in our hotel room.

Male member of the BunMack team. Happy to be Ms Fix It's lovely assistant on past and future projects. Maybe I'll learn some skills along the way. 69 years old when this adventure began, with expectations to help family and friends with their projects, see great sights along the way, and enjoy our life together.

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