It wasn't that long ago we were counting the "sleeps" until we saw the family and now we only have four more "sleeps" left before we have to leave them and head back to Australia. We've thoroughly enjoyed our time with them and the past few days were no exception.Although Elaine spent Saturday at the local Queen Creek library for a little peace and quiet to get some paperwork completed while Roy visited the storage unit and we've spent a few days running some errands, we've still had plenty of time for family walks, playtime at the park, movie nights, barbecues and family time around the fire pit just to take the chiill out of the evening air. William has also enjoyed his bicycle rides and Roy has cooked up a few storms in the kitchen, much to the delight of the twins. By yesterday though, Grandpa needed an afternoon nap, so he joined the babies, but woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed to enjoy Keenan and Brooke's friends who had come over to visit. Today was "mom and son" day, so, after fetching Keenan from the airport, him and Elaine headed off for their afternoon together. Lunch was enjoyed at San Tan Flats and although the plan was to go to the movies, we opted instead to go off roading in his new truck. It's fair to say we both enjoyed our time together without the demands of family life. By the time we got home Roy, Brooke and the rest of the family were well into their afternoon of backyard games; corn hole and ladder ball. The day was wrapped up with another barbecue, roasting marshmallows and we got to taste a "smore" for the very first time. By the time we headed to bed, we knew all was right with our world, including Paw Paw. A great big THANK YOU to Ros and Rick off Raya who, once again, tended to her engines and docklines before their departure to Sydney.
While Elaine enjoyed a lazy Friday morning, Roy was up early to head back to the condo to finish the repairs to the sliding door. Elaine also took the opportunity to catch up with friends in England as well as look after the children to allow Brooke to get some grocery shopping done. By then, there was still enough daylight left to enjoy another visit to the park before we headed out to meet friends for drinks and dinner at the Ginger Monkey in Chandler. It was a lovely surprise to see faces we hadn't expected and thoroughly enjoyed the time together with friends we haven't seen in a number of years.Yesterday Roy looked after all the children while Elaine and Brooke enjoyed a "girlie day" out, which included lunch and a very successful shopping spree using a host of gift cards, complements of our credit card rewards. While Elaine and Brooke had a great outing, Roy definitely looked worse for wear by the time we got home and needed a few headache tablets to help his recovery. Today, while Roy enjoyed a lazy morning to himself, the rest of us headed to church. After lunch we caught up with family in Ireland and then took the children for a long walk and yet another trip to the park. A barbecue sealed the evening, but it was a rather late night for us, since we needed to stay up to fetch Keenan from the airport. With the whole family back under one roof tonight, we await the adventures of tomorrow!
Yesterday morning, after a cooked breakfast complements of Brooke, it was time to get some fresh air. With the twins in the stroller and the rest of us in our walking gear, we enjoyed a family walk around the neighbourhood and then the grandsons got to spend the rest of the morning playing in the park.While Roy spent part of the afternoon ordering all our yacht parts, spares and consumables which we'll take back with us and Keenan in charge of the children, Elaine and Brooke took the opportunity to get some grocery shopping done. We'd no sooner got home when it was time to fetch Capri from school. So, with everyone piled into the Expedition we set off to collect her and see her for the first time in nearly a year before heading to Costco to purchase the all important disposable nappies / diapers. Unfortunately, once we had returned home for dinner and while we were entertaining William in the park for the second time yesterday, Capri informed Brooke that she wasn't feeling well and further investigation revealed a red rash all over her torso. Next stop, the Urgent Care. We all sighed with relief when it proved to be nothing serious, but she did get to spend a day at home today. We were, however, not so privileged. We were up at 0430 to take Keenan to the airport so that we could have the use of his truck while he is away working. A breakfast of coffee and banana loaf from Starbucks helped us get through a very long day at the condo, before heading to the bank, inquiring about alternative storage facilities and obtaining quotes to replace the carpets in the condo. It was very frustrating that, after all the money we paid the property management company to restore our condo, we still had to spend most of the day doing a more detailed cleaning of the garage, the front entrance area, the balcony area, the baseboards, doors, lights, toilets, kitchen cabinets, closet and door tracks, appliances, etc, as well as paint the entrance / front door area, the door to the master bedroom, the door frame to the garage and the electric garage door. The corker was also having to undertake a few repairs which the property management company charged us for, but didn't actually carry out, including repairing the sliding closet door in one of the bedrooms. Having to unravel the cords on all the blinds as well as position them properly was the point where Elaine wanted to give the previous tenant a piece of her mind. While it's always difficult to stage an empty area, we think having the place look more "cared for" after our efforts today will, no doubt, set a better tone and new carpets will definitely be the final touch. Lets hope we have a sale soon! Time with all the grandchildren this evening though, melted away the stress of the day!
All in all, we had a very uneventful journey all the way to Arizona. Everything was on time and ran like clockwork. Flying first class on the international leg of the journey, complements of Keenan, was a definite bonus, but we weren't expecting the miserable, overcast and rainy weather we encountered in Sydney. Fortunately the hotel for our overnight stat was right at the international terminal, so we didn't have far to walk in the rain.After Keenan and Brooke collected us at Sky Harbour airport, we enjoyed a light lunch in downtown Scottsdale, before saying our goodbyes to Keenan as he was still working and had an overnight flight to Detroit. Then, it was time to see the grandsons and what a welcome it was. William running towards us with his enthusiastic "hi grandma", "hi grandpa" and the twins crawling as fast as they could. Being able to eventually hug and kiss them after nearly a year was beyond words! While Keenan flew back home yesterday morning, the rest of us lounged around enjoying a lazy morning and afternoon before enjoying a barbecue last night, under the twinkle lights and warmed by the fire pit. Seeing Keenan arriving home in his uniform though was the cherry on the cake! Although we were both still feeling jetlagged today, we had to deal with a few landlubber matters relating to our condo, but it was a very productive day otherwise. Roy and Keenan overseeded the lawn early this morning, did some grocery shopping, replaced the brake pads on one of the cars, while simultaneously smoking a brisket for dinner. The results were definitely well worth their efforts as dinner was delicious, excluding the few charred bits, given that they were multitasking and a few flames had to be extinguished at one point. It was also a tad chaotic this evening after a parcel arrived from Ireland for the twins birthday which contained sweets and chocolates and had everyone vying for their favourite treat. Now, it's movie time, then early to bed.
The past few days continued to be busy with getting ourselves and Paw Paw ready for our return to the USA. On Thursday morning we moved Paw Paw to her new home for the next few weeks and, fortunately, we were enjoying a visit from Plastic Plankton ( Kathi and Wolgang) at the time, so they were able to help us with the docklines. Once that was all done, it was time to get the laundry done and start packing. In between all that we booked our internal flights, investigated the public transportation system to get us to Brisbane Domestic Airport, booked our hotel in Sydney for our overnight stay there, purchased the additional medical insurance coverage we need for visiting the USA, installed the two new house batteries, replaced the "Damp Rid" in all the cupboards to, hopefully, prevent an issue with dampness on our return, pickled the watermaker, cleared the cockpit, secured the mainsail and sheets, treated the water tanks and defrosted the freezer to prevent any science projects sprouting during our absence.We did, however, enjoy lunch at the Tedder Avenue bakery yesterday, as well as sundowners at the Mirage Marina shopping centre to stretch our legs, but we decided on dinner aboard just for a change. It was Roy's trip to the local barber though, that has cemented his views on Australia. Drinking a beer, while having his hair cut by a very attractive female barber left him in awe, to the point that he had great difficulty in attempting to regale his experience to Elaine when he returned to the Southport Yacht Club. And now, after sailing halfway around the world, we're on our way back to where we started, using every form of transportation except a yacht - We were up early for our five minute walk to the Tedder Avenue bus stop, where we caught a bus to Helensvale Station, then a train to Brisbane Domestic Airport and are currently awaiting our flight to Sydney, after enjoying a very efficient public transportation service and a very friendly clearance through airport security. So refreshing! Just one more sleep until we see the family. Can't wait!!!