Notes - January 2020

(I back-dated this post to Jan 1. I created this post and started writing some notes on Jan 24. I'm going to miss a lot. I finally returned to normal health on Sun, Jan 19.)

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Wed, Jan 1

We returned home from visiting Mom.

And I came down with the wicked cold crud.

Sat, Jan 4

In the morning, I took Deb to the Detroit airport. She headed to Chicago for pleasure and business with coworkers who flew in from other areas.

Tue, Jan 7

I watched the kids or helped watch the kids from approx 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Both Dominic and Gabbie were sick too with the wicked cold crud. All three of us were coughing with running noses. But we played well. No slowing down in the kids.

Thu, Jan 9

Deb and a coworker drove back from Chicago. I met them near Toledo Express Airport. They were stopped on the turnpike for security reasons. Vice President Pence and President Trump held a rally or whatever it was called at the arena in downtown Toledo. They both arrived at TOL separately. Pence arrived first and spoke first, and he left the arena as soon as he finished speaking. And since he flew out of TOL around the time when Trump took the stage, security closed the turnpike for a while. Something like that.

Sat-Sun, Jan 11-12

Deb and I helped watch the kids on both days. Deb went up in the morning, and I arrived around Noon or early afternoon on both days to relieve Deb, although she stayed all day on Sunday.

Thu, Jan 16

I watched the grandkids from approx 4:30 p.m. to mid-evening. Gabs went to bed around 8:00 p.m., maybe after. CP and Brad went out to dinner with friends. They returned home around 9:00 p.m.

When it was time for Gabs to get ready for bed, I did not know where her jammies were located. I could have unlocked the child protection locks on every drawer for her dresser and search for the jammies, but I asked Gabbie. She responded by walking over to her dresser, unlocking the child-protection lock for the drawer that contained her jammies, and pulling out a pair of jammies. She knows how to unlock and lock those locks that are suppose to prevent her from rifling through her drawers, which does not do.

Sat, Jan 18

I finally overcame my cold crud that began on Jan 1. Jeesh. This was a bit wicked or at least majorly annoying.

Tue, Jan 21

I watched the kids from the late afternoon and into the early evening while CP went to the doctor. Brad came home from work in the early evening. I continued to play with Dominic and Gabbie.

One of Gabbie's favorite toys is the collection of very small plastic animals. Many of the animals have a single letter on their fronts, such as "V" for the vulture and "Y" for the yak. Gabbie got lost in imaginative play in her bedroom with these small animals. She talked to herself while playing with these small animals.

Thu, Jan 23

I arrived at CP and Brad's house around 4:30 p.m. Catherine was feeling bogged down by school work, and she wanted more time for studying.

When I arrived, Dominic was crawling around on the floor in the dining area, smiling at me. Gabbie welcomed me by showing me a small toy horse. She likes her horses.

As usual, it's almost every time that I visit, and it has been this way for a long time, the first thing that Gabbie and I do is for Gabbie to make me sit down on one of the small chairs at her tea table. Then Gabbie serves me food from her kitchen setup.

The big kitchen setup that she can walk into is probably her favorite toy over the past couple years. Of course, the setup contains many other related toys, such as appliances, toy pots and pans, plastic and wooden fruits and veggies, utensils, etc. Gabbie loves all of it. She likes opening and closing the doors for the cupboards, oven, and microwave. She likes pressing the buttons on the appliances. She likes to serve me beverages. She sets the table with plates and utensils. She brings pots and pans to the table where I'm seated. Sometimes, I'm holding Dominic at the table. Sometimes, puts on an apron. She will either have me help her put on the apron, or like the other day, she put the small apron on herself, securing it in the back with the Velcro.

For today, I sat a bare table. No other toys were on the table. Gabbie retrieved the fun cloth that we bought her from a local fabric designer at the December 2018 Art Loop at Handmade Toledo. The maker designed the patterns and colors for the cats and flowers with paints, and then a special printer applied her design to fabric. She sold fabric for sewing projects, and she sold tea towels or whatever it was called. For Gabbie's small table, it has been used as a table cloth.

Anyway, Gabbie placed the table cloth on her table. Then she served me food. Lately, we play this game where the food is too hot, according to her or me. She says, "Hot," and I respond by blowing on the food and then pretending to eat it. Then she takes the food and goes through the process of placing it in the oven and pulling it out of the oven and serving me. Repeating the above.

For today's and Tuesday's visits, the main food served has been asparagus and two cookies, served in a pot with a lid.

On Tuesday, we played the hot food serving game in Gabbie's bedroom and on the couch in the living room. At times, I served the food to Gabbie. While seated on the floor in Gabbie's bedroom and seated on the couch, I would place the pot of food behind me or at my side. I stirred the food. Then I paused while I pretended the food cooked in the oven. Then I would make a "Ding" sound, indicating that the food was done cooking. Next, I placed the pot by Gabbie, and I would remove the lid from the pot with flair by saying, "Voila!"

Today when Gabbie served me the pot of asparagus and two cookies, she said, "Ding" before removing it from the oven. After placing the pot on the table in front of me, she removed the lid with her own flair, and she also said, "Voila!"

We did not play in the play area long. For some reason, Gabbie wanted to move her operation to her bedroom. We took the table and two chairs to her bedroom, along with the pot of food, and some other toys. Many other toys, mainly small plastic animals.

CP studied in her bedroom. Dominic crawled around on his belly, outside Gabbie's room. He would crawl to the opening to Gabbie's bedroom and then he would crawl away. He liked to mess around with the robotic vacuum thing.

When we were in the play area, Dominic crawled under a cabinet and without banging his head, he came out from under the cabinet with one of Gabbie's metal toy spoons. He was pleased.

Dominic crawled all over, holding that metal spoon. He would roll over on his back and blow raspberries. Then he would roll back over on his belly and crawl more. Dominic would get chatty too. Gabs talks a lot, although it's not always understandable, but maybe Dominic blows raspberries and makes other noises to keep up with Gabbie's talking.

I tried to feed Dominic in his high chair, but he did not eat much. A little later, I placed Dominic in his circular thing with wheels. He ran around, crashing into furniture. He moves so fast that it's hilarious. The dogs and me jump out of the way. Dominic would run down to CP's bedroom and yell something at CP, and then Dominic would run away. CP had the bedroom door open. Dominic talks loudly when he runs around. Occasionally, I fed Dominic his baby food when he stopped running/rolling around.

For Gabbie, we spent most of the afternoon and evening playing in her bedroom. Gabbie maintains a good-sized collection of stuffed critters that she keeps in her small bed even when she sleeps.

Gabbie brought into her room a small bag of costume jewelry that consisted of necklaces and bracelets. She liked to place the items around my neck and arm. One was a medal that CP earned somewhere. She placed the items on me, and then she removed them from me. Later, she applied the necklaces and bracelets to her stuffed animals.

Gabbie used one of the tea table chairs to climb up onto her dresser. Up and down. Playing. She talked to herself. She was lost in imaginative play that involved her stuff animals and/or the small plastic animals that she loves to play with.

While seated atop her dresser, Gabbie read to me her Lama Mama book. It's her favorite book currently. CP or Brad read her the book twice each night before bedtime. This time, Gabbie "read" it to me.

Gabbie held the book in a way that I could see the pages and read the words. She looked down at the pages and read in her way. I think that she has most of the book memorized. When she go to the "Run. Run. Run!" part, Gabbie said those word very loudly, like how it's suppose to be read. And near the end when Mama lama kisses baby lama, Gabbie made two kissing sounds.

Gabbie read the Lama Mama book for while. Sometimes, she wold read a page or two, and then she would get one of stuffed animals, and it sounded like she was saying the Lama Mama story, but instead of the lama, she incorporated the stuffed animal that she held. The cat, dog, fox, donkey, etc. She did this by continuing to sit on top of her dresser. She had stuffed animals on top of her dresser.

After seeming to incorporate a stuffed animal in the lama story, she would hand me that stuffed animal. Then she would read from the lama book. Then she would pick up a stuffed animal and saying something that sounded like the lama story but with the stuffed animal that she held. Then she would hand me the stuffed animal and repeat.

When Dominic ran around in his circular thingy, sometimes he would hold his right arm up in the air while holding onto a toy. It looked like "Power to the People" or "Charge!" He ran fast with his one arm up in the air, slightly bent. Hilarious.

Dominic got tired of his circular roller thingy, and I held him for a while, walking around. While seated on the floor in Gabbie's bedroom, holding Dominic, Dominic turned around and pushed Gabbie's door closed. I opened it, and then Dominic pushed it closed again. We did this over and over.

Then Dominic started rubbing his eyes and making funny noises that sounded like frustrated noises. He was tired. Eventually, CP took him and laid him down to sleep. He usually goes to sleep in the 6pm hour.

Gabs ate late. For dinner, Gabs ate tomatoes, grapes, carrots, and cheese. She loves to eat the small tomatoes and grapes. She ate in the living room. Then it was back to playing in her bedroom.

Later in the evening, Gabs went into the bathroom, but instead of going potty, she wanted to play with the small spray bottle and wash cloth. We filled the bottle with water. Then Gabbie sprayed the fine spray on the counter, and she made me wipe up the water. Repeat.

Then CP came into the bathroom because she wanted Gabbie to brush her teeth and get ready for bed or at least quiet time, but Gabbie launched into major protesting meltdown. I left the room to use that time to pick up the toys in her bedroom and to move the table and chairs from her bedroom to the play area.

Eventually, Gabbie returned to her playful self. CP and I took turns reading the lama book to Gabbie. I read first. We all sat on the floor of Gabbie's bedroom. When I read first, Gabbie sat on CP's lap. And when CP read, Gabbie sat on my lap, but she got distracted. She started playing with my Ironman watch. Then she pointed to the birds on my t-shirt and said, "Birdy."

After reading the lama story twice, CP and I left Gabbie in her bedroom with her many stuffed animals. I watched for a while over the monitor. She left the overhead light on. Apparently, she will at times turn the light off right before falling asleep. Gabbie piled her stuffed animals at one end of her bed. Eventually, she laid down and covered herself and fell asleep with the overhead light on.

I left at 8:45 p.m.

I consider these to be Gabbie's favorite toys or the toys that I think she should focus on:

I like to play with the foam blocks. Gabbie has not played with them in a while. Maybe they are put away. But in recent months, Gabbie has enjoyed stacking the foam blocks herself. She has always enjoyed pushing and pulling the cylinder blocks through the blocks that contain holes. I think this toy should remain in her collection.

It's not a toy, but she likes to decorate me and her stuffed animals with the costume jewelry. And of course, she likes her stuffed animals and books.

Her crew of stuffed animals currently consists of:

I think more exist. Also one baby doll.

Fri, Jan 24

We left Toledo at 4:30 p.m. for central Michigan to visit Deb's parents for the weekend. We experienced stop-and-go traffic a little north of Ann Arbor, which was typical rush hour traffic. Traffic was heavy on Route 23 all the way to I-75, and the I-75 traffic was heavy most of the way to the M-10 exit.

That heavy traffic is typical Friday evening Michigan traffic. Enough snow exists up north for people to enjoy, I guess.

The weather today, however, for our drive was wet with light rain and temps in the mid to upper 30s. The traffic on M-10 and M-30 was light. As we drove north, the temps were lower, and the precip near the end of our trip changed to sleet or some kind of frozen precip.

Deb's parents' area still had at least six inches of snow on the ground. They must have received 8 to 10 inches of snow last weekend. It was wintry looking, but it was wet and messy today.

At Deb's parents' place, we hung out at the house. It was 7:50 p.m. when we arrived. We did not stop on the drive up. It was too late for Deb's parents to go somewhere to eat. Deb and I brought food from home. I snacked on Zimmerman's bread that CP bought for me. I brought a bag of Cajun spiced peanuts in a shell that I bought this week at Masserants Feed & Grain in Lambertville, MI. These peanuts taste great. I also brought apples. Deb brought broccoli and brussel sprouts. I also brought Basil Hayden's bourbon. The spiced peanuts and whiskey don't mix though. The taste buds get too whacked by the spiced peanuts. Currently, Basil Hayden's is my favorite bourbon that we can buy in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

For our TV viewing, we watched a Netflix show called Longmire. It is supposedly set in Wyoming. Regardless, the landscape shots were nice.

Sat, Jan 25

We relaxed around Deb's parents' home during the morning and early afternoon. The weather was foggy with wet snow and whatever else fell. I crocheted.

In the afternoon, we left for Clare. It's a 45-minute drive one way. I took the back roads. I like the landscape in this area. It seems that when we get north of M-10, the landscape changes from what we see in the Toledo area to more of what's common in the north.

At Clare, we only visited Four Leaf Brewing, the small craft brewery and pub that exists in an old clothing store. It opened in 2015, I think. We like their beers. I ordered a four-beer flight. I liked the cream ale the best.

Their food menu had changed. They added a vegan sandwich, which was tasty. Deb and I ordered it. The employee who invented that sandwich stopped at our table to discuss the sandwich. We told her that we liked it, and that we appreciated her adding the sandwich to the menu.

We were at Four Leaf for about 65 minutes. Deb and I mentioned either ordering more beer at Four Leaf or walking to the Doherty Hotel to have a drink, but Deb's parents seemed tired and ready to head home.

We arrived home before dark. The extended daylight is noticeable. We saw deer in many farm fields, but no deer crossed the road in front of us.

I like downtown Clare. It would have been nice if we left the house earlier to wander around a bit. 90 minutes of driving is a lot for only a one hour visit to Clare, but it was enjoyable as always.

The weather during the drive to and from was wet with light rain and wet snow at times. Messy.

Sun, Jan 26

We all went for a drive to Bay City. We left Deb's parents' house at 10:30 a.m. We drove around Bay City, sight-seeing and viewing apartment complexes that could be the next home for Deb's parents who no longer want to maintain a house and the property. They have friends in Bay City who they meet on a regular basis. They both grew up in Bay City. Deb and I like Bay City, at least the downtown area, which has seen a rebirth like many Rust Belt cities, including Toledo.

We ate a late lunch at Nori's, located in Auburn, MI. Then we went back to the house, arriving around 3:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Barney and I did not take any walks because of the temps being above freezing and the wet precip that fell.

Deb and I considered driving back to Toledo late this afternoon, but we decided to wait until morning.

Mon, Jan 27

We left Deb's parents' house at 8:30 a.m. We stopped once at the Thompson Rd exit. We arrived home at 11:50 a.m.

The brakes on our Ford Fusion were making rubbing sounds on Saturday. This afternoon, I took the car to the dealership for an oil change and to have the brakes checked. The rear brakes needed replaced. Total cost for this visit was $401.