It was agreed, then, that I should drive over to Mandeville LA on Sunday and take full and total charge of the grandkids. Take them away, entertain them, feed them, and keep them away from the mayhem of moving. The packers will show up Monday and will take two days to get their household packed. This pretty much means the house will become uninhabitable starting Monday morning.
So I got a hotel room at the nearby Comfort Inn and convinced my son that he should get a second hotel room so that the adults in his family could crash (or not) whenever they needed a comfortable bed and shower. Or to Just. Get. Away. The best part is that the hotel has a great outdoor pool and business was slow at the hotel while we were there, so we had the pool to ourselves.
|Dinner at Copeland's Sunday night.|
|Mimi and I with wet heads, eating at Copeland's Sunday night|
My son and I took the kids to the pool immediately after checking into the hotel on Sunday afternoon. Let's just go ahead and get that over with, since the kids glimpsed the pool as soon as we got there! The grandkids thought they were in heaven. We let them play in the pool until their fingers were shriveled and they actually wanted to get out. Hair still wet, chlorine still stinging eyes, and ears still full of pool water, we walked next door to Copeland's Restaurant for dinner.
My son stayed the night in his hotel room while daughter-in-law stayed at the house getting some last-minute travel packing and organizing done before the packers showed up the next morning. So next morning, when my son headed back to his house, it was official: I was the Keeper Of The Grandkids. Baths didn't get taken, teeth didn't always get brushed, hair didn't get combed, but we did have a great time!
That first morning, we drove over to a very nice playground only to discover it was closed Monday mornings for maintenance and cleaning. Well, drat! So what else was there to do but go back to the hotel and to the pool instead. The grandkids didn't mind this change of plan one little bit! Did I mention that they thought they were in heaven?
|Lunch at Wendy's...the kids couldn't have been happier!|
|Lunch at Wendy's. Trevor loved the high tables with stools!|
At noon, I hauled the kids out, got them dried off and dressed, and the three of us went to Wendy's for lunch. Trevor was thrilled that they had high tables and stools so of course that's where we all sat. Afterward I drove to the grocery store across the street to pick up some fresh fruit and snacks for the kids and we went back to the hotel room, where I hooked my laptop up to the TV with an HDMI cable and we watched a movie together. I was hoping Mimi would slip off to sleep, but she didn't.
When the movie was done, we went back into the hotel pool for a little bit, then dried off, changed clothes, and drove to their house where their mom and dad were making dinner for us. They'd asked the packers to save the kitchen contents for last so that they could cook one more meal. So in the midst of all the boxes and piles and chaos, they managed to put together one last dinner for all of us.
|What ever did we do before electronics?! Keeping occupied|
a midst total chaos, waiting for dinner.
|Piles here, piles there, piles everywhere...|
Tuesday morning their dad and I took them back to that playground where they played for hours! It's the best playground I've ever been to...plenty of shaded seating, lots of equipment for the kids to play on, and it sits right next to all of the Mandeville and county parish government buildings and straddles the really beautiful "rails to trails" trail that runs through all of Mandeville.
I dropped my son off at his house, but not before he rented a Redbox movie online and gave me his credit card so that I could pick it up at the Redbox kiosk in the Albertsons grocery store. I bought Luncheables for the kids and we went back to the hotel where we watched Penguins of Madagascar and ate our lunch.
|Watching Penguins of Madagascar at the hotel|
Later that afternoon, their mom arrived while their dad stayed with the packers, and we went to the pool for one last swim. Mimi was well beyond needing a nap and I'm sure that the chaos and confusion, not to mention total schedule disruption, had taken their toll. So while her mom took her back inside for a nap,Trevor and I stayed at the pool for another hour, until it was time to regroup with the rest of the family for dinner one last time in Mandeville: Outback Steak House.
|Bed time their last night in Mandeville - at the hotel|
My daughter-in-law spent one last night at the house. Next morning, she met us very early at the hotel. The kids were packed up and loaded into their SUV and my son and I waved goodbye as they departed for their drive to San Antonio to stay with friends for a couple of days. My son will catch up with them after the truck is loaded, and they continue on to California.
My son and I checked out of the hotel and returned to the house to meet the truck and loaders. I stayed for a little bit but it was clear that he had an excellent loading crew and wouldn't be needing my help. So I hugged my son goodbye and sadly drove back home. I was so happy that I could be of help during such a chaotic time. It was nice to spend the time with my family but also sad, knowing they were moving so far away. It will no longer be just a half day's drive to see them.
The loaders finished by late afternoon and shortly after, son and cat were driving toward San Antonio to meet up with the rest of the family. A new chapter now begins for them...