When my alarm went off in the morning, I called each of the other rooms to make sure they were up and getting ready.We all went down to the lobby for the complimentary breakfast, and although it wasn’t anything special, it saved time by not having to go to a restaurant first.There was enough there so we all got full, and as soon as everyone was satisfied we returned to our rooms to brush our teeth.We then headed down to the parking lot, hopped in our vehicles, and drove over to HersheyPark.
It was a lovely morning with billowy clouds drifting aimlessly across the sky above us, so the only thing I worried about was how hot it was going to get.We arrived a few minutes before the park opened, and I was surprised by the number of other people that had arrived ahead of us, since I was thinking we might be the only ones there.It wasn’t too bad, though, and didn’t seem that crowded once we got inside, so our Fast Passes weren’t really necessary at this point.However, I knew they’d come in handy as the day went on.
We decided to stick together as we went from ride to ride, and this meant I got to share each ride with Noah, since the others had a friend to go on the rides with them.We only stopped around noon in order to grab a bite to eat, and then we returned to go on the rides again.
It was considerably hotter as we made our way around the park in the afternoon and the kids were glad we had the FastPass so we didn’t have to stand around in the hot sunlight.We would either be walking or enjoying a slight breeze while on the rides, but that was a lot better than waiting in a long line.Even though it might have been slightly more uncomfortable standing in a slowly moving line, I think I would have been just as happy to endure that instead.It would have given me a little more time in between the stomach-churning adventures, which were starting to get to me.In the end, however, I felt I held up pretty well and managed to keep from embarrassing myself by spewing my lunch all over the ride or someone else.
We stopped again around 7:00 so we could eat dinner, and then we stayed until closing.I’d been on enough rides by then to last me for several years, let alone until the next day, because we still had tomorrow to go.If I had known more of the details about how this was going to work out, I would have opted to only purchase a one-day pass for each of us instead, but now I had to prepare myself to do this again.I didn’t want to disappoint the kids or waste the money we’d already spent, so I mentally prepared myself to suck it up for one more day.
When we returned to the hotel, we headed up to our rooms.Before I went inside, I reminded everyone we’d be getting up early again and bid them goodnight and pleasant dreams.
Once I entered my room, I started getting ready for bed and had just finished brushing my teeth when my cell phone rang.
“Hi, Poppy.I hope it’s not too late to call you,” said Wyatt.“We just got done talking to Uncle Danny.”
“No, this is fine and I haven’t gotten into bed yet, so what did you do today?”
“We went to a haunted house.”
“But I think your haunted house was just as good,” stated Revin.
“Yeah, it was, and then we went to a PirateMuseum,” said Hunter.
“And I liked that a lot,” added Hayden.
“Then we spent more time at the beach too,” said Tristan.
“It sounds like you had a fun day,” I replied.
“It was pretty good, but I liked the beach the best,” said Joshie.
“Yeah, I agree,” followed Benny.
“And did you wear your swimsuits or did you swim like you do at home?”
“Very funny,” said Joshie sarcastically.
“So what are you guys doing tomorrow?”
“We’re taking them to the Pleasure Pier,” answered Brandon.
“It’s a pier that juts out over the water and there are a bunch of rides and other things to do there,” said Dion.
“Then the boys should enjoy that.”
“We hope so,” said Brandon, “and after that we’re driving to Austin.”
“I see, and I hope you have a good time there as well.”
After I said goodbye to the boys, Dion and I got a chance to chat alone and we shared our love before bidding one another goodnight.As soon as I got off the phone, Noah and I took turns showering before getting into bed, turning off the lamp, and falling asleep.
When we woke up on Sunday morning, we hustled down to the lobby again so we could partake of another complimentary breakfast before heading out to enjoy another fun-filled day at HersheyPark.It was a lovely, sunny day again, just like the previous one, and my only solace was that we wouldn’t be staying as long today.We would be having a late lunch and then we’d head home early so Noah, Holly, and Brittany could get ready to go into the HealthCenter the following morning.
Since I wanted to make this memorable for the others, I decided to let the kids take turns choosing which ride they wanted to go on again, and then we’d all go on that particular ride together.I felt the Fast Pass would make it possible so each one would get a couple of chances to select the rides they wanted to go on before it was time to leave, and the kids seemed to be copasetic with my suggestion.
To my chagrin, however, some of them selected the same attraction that one of the others had already chosen, so we ended up going on a few of the rides multiple times.I’m not sure how I did it, but somehow I managed to keep my breakfast down as we continued on.I was pleased that they all had a chance to make an equal number of choices of the rides they wanted to go on again, but I was ecstatic when it was time to let them know we had to leave.
“I’m sorry to ruin your fun, but it’s time to head home.Noah, Holly, and Brittany have to go to the HealthCenter tomorrow and I’m sure they have a few things to do in order to get ready.Since I don’t want any of them to be tired while they’re performing their duties, we’ll start back now.”
“Are we gonna eat first, cuz we haven’t had lunch yet and it’s already after 2:00?” asked Noah.“I’m hungry.”
“Yeah, we shoulda done that a long time ago, cuz I’m hungry too,” added Ryan.
“I know, and we’ll find somewhere to stop on the way back.It will be cheaper that way, and I’m sure it will be more nutritious as well.”
“Ok, but only if we don’t have to wait too long, cuz I’m starving,” said Noah.
“Me too,” said Ryan, with Owen nodding in agreement.
True to my word, I found a decent looking restaurant when we reached the next town and I pulled into the parking lot with Elliot following right behind so we could go in and eat together.After we finished our meals and everyone’s belly was full, we set out for home.
The group riding with me in the SUV spent the next few minutes talking about what a great time they had at Hershey Park, but that only lasted for about a half hour.I wondered why it had suddenly grown quiet, and when I looked in the rearview mirror I noticed that Ryan and Owen were leaning against one another, sound asleep.
“I guess we’ll have to keep each other company,” I said to Noah as I nodded toward the seat behind us.He looked quickly and then spoke.
“I used to do that on long rides when I was younger too.”
“I think the meal and the hypnotic hum of the tires on the road has something to do with it, as well as the fact that there isn’t a great deal to see.”
“You’re probably right, but I’m staying awake so I can make sure you don’t fall asleep.”
“Thank you.I appreciate you doing that for me and our conversation will definitely help to keep me from dozing off.”
Noah spent the time telling me about the things he’d been doing at the HealthCenter with Jesse, and he also told me what his life had been like at PennState.I let him do most of the talking, although I asked questions from time to time, and he seemed pleased that I was interested in what he had to say.When we finally arrived at the house, we got out of the vehicles and I asked a couple of quick questions.
“Brittany, do you want to eat dinner with us before you leave?”
“No, I’d better go and see what my roommates are up to.They might have something planned for us and are waiting for me to return.”
“Ok, I can appreciate that.How about you, Owen?Would you like to stay and eat with us?”
“Nah, I’d better go back and spend some time with my grandma and grandpa, seeing they let me go with you guys for the past couple of days.”
“What if they’ve already eaten?”
“Don’t worry about that, cuz I know my grandma will fix somethin’ for me if they already ate.”
“Ok, as long as you’re sure.If you’ll hang on for a minute, I’ll drive you there.”
“You don’t have to do that, because I can drop him off for you,” said Brittany.“He told me earlier that his grandparents don’t live very far from here, so it’s not a big deal.”
“Thank you and that will help a lot.”
As Owen and Brittany were getting their things out of the SUV so they could climb into Brittany’s car, I asked Elliot a question.“Are you and Ian staying here tonight?”
“Yes, but we’re going to go to Ian’s house first and spend some time with his parents,” said Elliot. “We’ll come back here later and spend the night, cuz that way we’ll be able to start working on the tree house early.”
“Ok, but what if Ian’s parents have already eaten?”
“Then we’ll just call and have something delivered.”
“Ok, in that case I just want to thank each of you for going with us and making this a very enjoyable weekend.”
“I think we should be thanking you,” responded Brittany.
“Yeah, she’s right,” said Owen.
“Then we’ll just thank each other.As soon as Noah, Ryan, and Holly have taken their things out of the SUV, I’ll move it so Brittany can back her car out of the driveway.”
Once the others had all departed, the rest of us went inside to see what Danny and Pop were up to and if they’d eaten dinner.Before we had a chance to do that, however, Dobby and Flash came charging out of the family room and into the foyer, and they were both very excited.They jumped up on us and temporarily rested their front paws on our legs as they attempted to lick various parts of our bodies.Their tails were wagging ninety-miles-per-hour the entire time as we reached down to pet them.
“Well I guess these two obviously missed us,” I joked.
“Yes, they kept going upstairs and looking around to see if anyone was there,” said Pop.“And sometimes they’d sit at the bottom of the stairs and whine, like that might make you suddenly appear.It seems they weren’t thrilled that Danny and I were the only ones here.”
Once we finished talking about the puppies, Danny and Pop wanted to know if we had a good time.As soon as we answered all of their questions, I asked them one as well.
“Have you eaten yet?”
“No,” replied Pop.“We wanted to wait until you guys got home.”
“Do you have anything in mind, or do you want to go out and grab a bite to eat?”
“Let’s just call and have something delivered,” suggested Danny.
“Any suggestions then?”
“Yeah, pizza,” shouted Ryan.
“Is everyone ok with Pizza?”
“Not really,” said Danny.“Pop and I had that last night, so we’d rather not have it again.”
“How about Italian in general?I know an Italian restaurant that delivers, so those who want pizza can order that and the rest of us can order whatever we want.I have their takeout menu in one of the drawers in the kitchen, so I’ll go and get it, if you’re interested.”
“Yes, that sounds good,” they all agreed.
After talking it over and finding out what everyone wanted, I called in the order.While we were waiting for it to be delivered, I fed the puppies and then my phone rang.
“Hi, Poppy, are you back home yet?”
“Yes, we arrived less than an hour ago.”
“Good, cuz we didn’t want to call you when you was drivin’.Is Uncle Danny there with you?”
“Yes, he is.”
We then heard a chorus of ‘Hi, Uncle Danny’, ‘Hi, Uncle Trey,’ and ‘Hi, Dad’, and then I asked them, “So what did you do today?”
“We went to the Pleasure Pier and rode on some more rides, but it wasn’t as much fun as the ‘musement park,” said Wyatt.
I wasn’t sure if he had taken over the role of being the dominant member of the pack or if the others were merely letting him have his way because he was the youngest, but he always answered first.
“I’m sure it was nice, though, just not as elaborate or exciting as the amusement park.”
“Yeah, but we still had fun,” shouted the twins from the background.
“And then we had to go on another long ride in the SUV with Grandpa Pat and Grandma Brenda,” said Benny.“The two places aren’t very close together.”
“Yes, Texas is a very large state and the various places are quite far apart.So where are you now?”
“We’re in Austin,” said Joshie.“It’s the State Capital.”
“Yeah, that’s where we are,” agreed Wyatt.
“I’m sure you boys will have a good time while you’re there.”
“I hope so,” said Benny and Joshie nearly simultaneously.I had a feeling they were worried about what they were going to do there, since Brandon wouldn’t answer my question about what was on the agenda.I guess we’ll all find out tomorrow.
“Did you have fun today?” asked Wyatt.
“Yes, I did, and the others did as well.”
“K, I’m glad everyone had a good time.”
“I think they had more fun than I did, because being jostled around on the rides was starting to get to me.”
“That’s a sign you’re getting old,” teased Joshie.
“I’ll show you who’s getting old when you get back.I still know how to take care of a mouthy teenage twerp,” I joked back.
Wyatt was giggling before he spoke again.“I love you and Uncle Danny, and we’ll call you again tomorrow and let you know what we did.”
“Ok and I love you guys too.”
After Brandon took the phone off speaker, Danny and I had a chance to chat with our spouses privately, and as soon as we ended the call, we went out to the dining room to eat.Pop had answered the door when the food was delivered, and Holly, Noah, and Ryan helped him set it all out on the dining room table and poured each of us a drink.All Danny and I had to do was to sit down at the table and eat.
Once we finished our meals, Danny, Pop, Holly, and Noah went off to get their things ready for work the next day, and Pop pulled me aside for a brief chat.
“Since Elliot isn’t here, I’ll tell you what they can do on the tree house tomorrow, so you can pass the information on to him.”
He then gave me a brief rundown on what he and his friend had accomplished and where Elliot and the others could pick up.As soon as he gave me that information, I put the leashes on the puppies so I could take them out for a walk, but it wasn’t just so they could relieve themselves.This time I walked them up and down the street after they peed, since I assumed they hadn’t done this while we were gone.I felt they could use the exercise and they seemed happy to be spending time out of the house.
As soon as we got back, I carried the doggy beds upstairs to my room, and both dogs’ tails were wagging as they followed me up to the second floor.They seemed to be happy that we were home again, and that included Noah and Ryan, although those two usually didn’t have much to do with Dobby and Flash.I showered quickly before turning in, and during that time both puppies settled down on their beds and fell asleep.
The next morning, I glanced out the window to see if Elliot’s car was in the driveway, which it was, so I took a break until they got up.Ryan got up first, so I decided to ask him a few questions while he ate.
“What are you going to do today?” I began.
“I thought I’d go down to Owen’s grandparents’ house and see if he wants to do somethin’ first, and then we’ll come back to help with the tree house.”
“Ok.”I then hesitated before continuing.“Look, I know I’m not one of your dads, but have you and Owen been having sex?”
He didn’t even hesitate before he answered.“We mostly just jerk each other off, but sometimes we’ll agree to blow each other too.”
“So is that what you meant when you said you were going to see if he wants to do something?”
“Maybe, but I was gonna see if he wanted to do something else too, like go somewhere or play video games.”
“Ok, I was just curious.”
“We’ll come back here before lunch, though, so we can help Elliot and Ian work on the tree house after we eat.”
“Ok, that’s good to know,” I agreed before he headed out the door.
When Elliot and Ian came downstairs a few minutes later, I filled them in about what Pop had told me.
“Grandpa Jake wanted me to let you know that he and his friend did a lot of work on the tree house over the weekend.They replaced the railings that were rotting out and some of the floor boards too, and they stripped off the old roof and replaced it with a new one.He said you can clean up the inside of the tree house, because some animals got inside while it wasn’t being used and made a mess.He wanted me to tell you that there are some masks and rubber gloves for you to use while you’re doing this, because it’s pretty bad.I’ll give you some trash bags to use to get rid of the dirt and trash, and once you get done with that, he said he left containers of water sealant you can use to coat all of the outdoor surfaces.”
“So that’s all he wants us to do?”
“He said that will be more than enough to keep you guys busy today, and then tonight after dinner he’ll tell you what you can do the rest of the week.”
“Ok, I guess that will work and you can tell Ryan and Owen to come out and join us as soon as they get here.”
“Ok, I can do that.”
I kept busy doing various household chores, and since Ryan and Owen didn’t come inside, I figured they must have gone directly to the tree house to help out.I didn’t see the boys again until I called them in to eat.
“Ian and I need to clean up first and change our clothes,” said Elliot when they came inside.
“Yeah, we need to clean up too, but we don’t have to change,” added Ryan, speaking for Owen as well.
“Ok, and Elliot I want you to throw your clothes into the washing machine and I’ll do them next.”
When they returned, I asked, “Have you gotten much done?”
“Yeah, we cleaned up the inside of the tree house,” answered Elliot, “and Grandpa Jake was right.It was a mess in there and it took us a long time to get rid of the mess.Whatever animals that got in there had shredded the magazines and cushions that were left behind, and they crapped all over the place too.”
“I think that’s why Grandpa Jake left the masks and rubber gloves for us to use,” added Ian.“There can be a viruses and bacteria in animal feces and it can give humans a wide range of illnesses.That’s why we wanted to clean up and change before we ate, in case we had anything on us or our clothing.”
“That was wise of you and I’m sure that’s what Grandpa Josh was thinking.Did all of you work on doing that?”
“No, we had Ryan and Owen start applying the water sealant, because it would be too crowded with all of us inside the tree house.That’s why they didn’t have to change.”
“I see, and when you go back I’ll give you some disinfectant cleaner you can use to wipe down the inside of the tree house.That should take care of any of the germs that are left behind.”
“Yeah, that will be good,” agreed Ian.
When the boys finished eating, they headed out to the tree house again and I continued doing other household chores, including washing the clothes that Elliot and Ian had tossed into the washing machine.I felt I should take care of that and not allow them to sit around for very long.
Later, I called the boys to stop working on the tree house and come in so they could wash up before the others got home, and everyone came in except for Owen.He said he’d clean up at his grandparents’ house and have dinner with them, so the others thanked him for helping before he took off.
As soon as the others arrived, we all sat down to eat – that is everyone except for Danny.This wasn’t a surprise, though, but I wish he would take a break every once in a while because I felt he was working way too hard.I was still thinking about this as I began eating.
During the meal Pop chatted with Elliot, Ian, and Ryan about how much they had accomplished on the tree house.
“Ian and I cleaned up the inside of the tree house, and that took us most of the day.”
“I hope you used the masks and gloves I left for you.”
“Yes, we did, and we threw the masks away when we finished and washed the rubber gloves with the disinfectant that Uncle Trey gave us to use.”
“Ryan and Owen were using the water sealant, and Ian and I helped them for a short time once we were done with the inside of the tree house, but there’s more of that to do.”
“Ok, and after dinner I want to show you what you can start working on next.”
“Does it have anything to do with the frame we saw in a nearby group of trees?”
“Yes, it does, but I’ll explain that when we get out there.”
As soon as dinner ended, Pop took Elliot, Ian, and Ryan out to the tree house to explain what they could do next.Danny showed up before they came back inside and he was still eating when my phone rang.
“Hi, Poppy.Is Uncle Danny there too?”
“Yes, he is.So what did you do today?”
“We went to a dumb museum,” said Wyatt, not sounding very happy about it.
“Yeah, it was kinda boring,” said Hayden.
“But we went swimmin’ after lunch, and that was fun,” said Hunter.
“The museum wasn’t dumb or boring,” objected Benny.“I really liked it and I learned more about what Dad D was tellin’ us about Texas once being part of Mexico.We also found out how the Texans and the Comanches got along, cuz they’re a Native American tribe that lives in this part of the United States.”
“Yes, I know,” said Danny.
“And we learned how Texas was an independent country before it became a state,” said Joshie. “We also saw some spearheads that were 16,000 years old and were made by the first people that lived in Texas.”
“Wow, that’s sounds really old and it sounds pretty neat.So what was the name of this museum?”
“We took them to the BullockTexasStateHistoryMuseum,” said Brandon.“Bullock is the surname of the Lt. Governor who pushed for the museum and did a lot of the work to make it happen.”
“Did they have a pool nearby where you could go swimming, or did you have to travel farther away?”
“We took them to the Hamilton Pool Preserve to swim, and it wasn’t too far away,” said Dion.“It’s a really nice place and there are hiking trails and picnic areas there as well, but we only went swimming.”
“We needed a reservation to be able to swim there,” said Brandon, “but my parents planned ahead and made a reservation in advance.”
“It was really neat there,” chorused the twins.
“Yeah, it was,” agreed Wyatt.
“It was outdoors and kinda secluded, so it would have been a great place to go swimmin’ with nothin’ on,” said Benny, “but there were too many other people there to do that.”
“I was still tempted to do it,” teased Joshie, “but my dad wouldn’t let me.”
“That’s because we’d probably get arrested if he’d done that,” said Dion.“There were several families with young children and I don’t think they would have been impressed seeing Joshie’s big snake swinging back and forth as he got in and out of the water.I don’t think Brandon’s mom and dad would have wanted him to do that either.”
“No, I suppose they wouldn’t.Are you staying in Austin tomorrow or are you moving on?”
“We’ll be staying in Austin for at least half of the day, and then we’ll be taking everyone to San Antonio after that.”
“Ok, then have fun and drive carefully.”
As soon as the call ended, Danny headed upstairs to get ready for bed, but I still had a few more tasks to complete first.Once they had been taken care of, I headed upstairs to shower and turn in, and when I got to my room both puppies were curled up in their beds, but they weren’t asleep.They merely watched what I was doing, but I saw them close their eyes as I climbed in between the sheets and turned off the lamp.