Gracious Hosts

While we were in Washington, Grandpa Tony and Grandma Renee were always very gracious hosts. They planned fun activities for us, fed us good food, and took care of Elena when Jenny and I wanted a little break. In addition, they provided us with lovely acommodations–Elena even had her own room. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Early in our visit, Tony invited me to go shooting. On Friday, a day or two later, we headed to the Kennewick Hole in the Wall indoor firing range. I started out with a nine millimeter handgun, then moved on to a .22 rifle. With both of them, I managed to hit the target almost all the time. Then Tony moved me up to a gun that he said would impress people if I told them about it–the .44 Desert Eagle. Apparently, even non-shooters know about this gun, possibly because of its appearance in some shoot-em-up video games. In any case, it had quite a kick, so my accuracy went down, but I was still able to hit the target. I was ready to go before long, and I’m afraid that the trip didn’t achieve Tony’s goal: I had a good time, but I have no greater desire to own a gun now than I did before we went shooting.

The next day was very food-oriented. After Jenny and I went for a morning run with Elena, we all packed up and headed to IHOP for brunch. I had a big stack of butterscotch pancakes, while Jenny opted for an omelet. Tony and Renee both chose Hawaiian-inspired pancakes. We did have one small incident: grandpa Tony tried to give Elena some whipped cream, but was reprimanded by Jenny and Renee. He didn’t know that babies aren’t supposed to be fed dairy products until they’re a year old.

In the evening, we had a barbeque for family and Jenny’s friends that still live in the area. We were happy to see the Couches and hear all their dog stories, as well as Jenny’s high school friend Chris and his family, which included their brand new baby. Paul and his family came, and Elena got to meet some second cousins–the children of Tony’s brother Gabe. The older kids played on a slip-n-slide and with some other water toys, and all the food was just right.

After my trip to Atlanta, we kicked things into high gear, so that we could do all the things we wanted to before we left. Renee wanted to pit me against Tony in a battle of Seinfeld trivia, care of Scene-It. Sadly, the game didn’t quite live up to expectations. Jenny, however, showed that she is a true Seinfeld expert.

Another much-anticipated event was our trip to a Mexican bakery. A few times we had eaten what Renee called ‘porquitos’ for dessert–they were sort of a soft gingerbread cookie in the shape of a pig. In my mind, porquitos were one of the lesser delights of the Mexican bakery. I focused in on the donuts as big as my face. Jenny picked up a dessert empanada. I think that it was my first empanadas ever, but I hope it won’t be my last.

We wanted to show our thanks somehow, and Tony gave me one opportunity to use my technical expertise. He wanted a wireless network in the house, and asked me to recommend the appropriate equipment. Right after visiting the bakery, we stopped by the WalMart and picked up a wireless router. It was easy to choose, and easy to set up in the house–mostly a plug and play job. I was glad to be of use.

All of a sudden the day before our departure, Grandpa Tony offered to give us a GPS unit for our trip home. They said to consider it an early Christmas present. It caught me off-guard when they asked me to pick something out because this is the kind of thing I usually research for months before making a decision. I got to work and quickly narrowed down my options, then decided on a Garmin Nuvi. We found a good deal on at Best Buy, and after one unsuccessful trip (they had just closed), picked it up on the morning of our departure. It served us well on our trip back to Utah, and has been very useful back here in Texas.

We’re glad that we got to visit her Grandpa Tony and Grandma Renee, but I think they were most happy to have Elena as a guest. We’ll try to take her back there as often as possible.

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