Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday in Buffalo

I dub Monday "The Three Hour Tour" (cue Gilligan's Island music) . . . 

We have been staying at the beautifully appointed home of cousins A and G, who were out of town the prior few days, but were coming home. They needed to sleep in after a grueling travel day, so on Monday morning, we decided to load everyone in the car to pick up doughnuts at the local Tom Hortons. It's quite a challenge to keep five children quiet in a sleeping house, so this was a good idea!

Upon waking, four of five children were sick, but they're not so miserable as with something like chicken pox that they are flopping about: they're pretty cheerful with their fever, spots, and contagion.

I had thrown on yesterday's outfit and my teeth and hair weren't brushed, while John and Joseph were still in their pajamas (to be fair: tee-shirts and soft shorts/pants, but still . . .). I ran back in the house to grab shoes for the kids, just in case for some unforeseen reason they would step out of the van. Then I thought, "Maybe I should go grab their bag of medications . . ." but I didn't want to go back in a second time when we'd be back in half an hour.

After picking up doughnuts, we thought, well, maybe we'd stay out a while longer and explore Tonawanda, the township of Buffalo where my parents in law both grew up as children--just a couple of blocks from each other. The children were fine--and they'd subsist on the three doughnuts holes each they'd eaten for breakfast for a while yet.

The home where Chris' paternal grandmother lived with her elderly stepfather until their deaths

The home where Chris' paternal uncle C and his bride A raised their three children
--just around the corner from his mother

The 1,100-square-foot home where my mother-in-law was raised, just several blocks from her future husband, had two bedrooms: one for her parents, one for guests. The eleven children lived in an attic bedroom with a sheet down the middle dividing boys from girls. And today's parents sometimes complain if so much as two children have to share a bedroom! And we (the societal 'we') think our 3,000 square feet just isn't enough!

The home where my mother-in-law was raised

The Amigone Funeral Home is a longstanding business named after the surname of the founding family,
but remains a bit of a point of humor: Am I Gone?

The tour was going well until the baby began crying vociferously, so much so that I had Chris pull over for me to investigate: Poor Thomas had had a big bout of diarrhea, his second since the day before, confirming for me that he is fighting this cocksackie virus as well.

It was so bad people, so bad. We found a local drug store where I purchased baby wipes (because I had run out), Ziplock bags to contain the fouled clothing and to dispose of the hazardous material, and paper towels clean up the car.

It took a half hour to clean up Thomas.

And instead of high-tailing it back to the house before Thomas got sick again, we decided to throw caution to the wind and continue on to Niagara Falls. Now we had a fresh pack of wipes and paper towels, right?

We would be unable to visit the Cave of the Winds, as planned, because we didn't want our contagious children around a lot of people. We figured we'd just drive as near as we could get to the sights, but we were pleased to find a free place to park and walk somewhat close to the falls, so we could see the top from the distance.

The views of what little we could see were majestic . . . although my landlubber kids seemed almost equally excited by seeing seagulls up close. "Look, Mama! Seagulls, seagulls!"

Note that John and Thomas are in sleeping clothing, and none of us girls have so much as run a brush through our hair. Nobody has brushed teeth.

"Baby Thomas, please don't have diarrhea while you're on Mama's back."

By now it was about 10:30 and those three little doughnuts holes were not holding the children's hunger at bay any longer.

We decided to extend our "dash to the doughnut shop" farther by meeting Chris' parents, an uncle, and an aunt at the cemetery to clean grave stones and pray for beloved aunts Veronica and Genevieve. But that meant first getting lunch at a drive through (avoiding going inside public buildings!).

By now the baby was utterly wailing and it occurred to me that I hadn't offered solid food to the poor guy at all that day, so we pulled over and all I could give him at that point were torn up bits of French fries, plus I nursed him again. He did love those French fries.

We enjoyed the visit to the cemetery and it was so good to let the children out of the car to run in the grass with the cool breeze blowing on our skin. They certainly couldn't infect any 'residents' of the cemetery with their virus!

We visited with each other, we cleaned up some overgrown adjacent stones, we shared stories of "Vron and Gen," and we prayed.

Cute baby-in-the-vase photo

It was nearing one o'clock and I had by far exceeded my daily allotment of planned spontaneity (see here) and, like a determined and ruffled little homing pigeon, was desiring to get back to home base and do things like brush my teeth and get my boys out of pajamas.

When we walked in the door, we handed over a dozen doughnuts we had bought for our hosts . . . six hours after we'd stepped out to run a quick errand!

The afternoon was blessedly quiet and restful, and then we ordered pizza and Buffalo wings while we received three families' of visitors who wanted to see us before we left. (These were all families of adults, no little children coming near our bug.) In the evening, John really enjoyed playing basketball, billiards, and catch with a baseball with his 16-year-old cousin M.

Despite the baby happily staying awake till 10:30 at night, Mama held on to her peace by a thread, which was its own small-m miracle.

Tomorrow, we travel home!

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