Wow! Did the week ever go fast! I am sooooo tired! Also, grateful that I don’t have a job to get up and go to in the morning!
I never thought I’d appreciate the heat we have here… but I finally understand what people mean when they say "yeah, but it’s a dry heat." I don’t know how people survive living in an area with so much humidity. We realized you can never cool off because although you sweat like crazy, it never dries…and it’s that process of evaporation that cools your body. In Pittsburgh, you just stay wet and sticky. And hot. Uhg. Fortunately, it was overcast most of the time we were there, so that did help. It also rained a bit….although it didn’t change the temperature at all! Where we live, if a storm blows in, even in summer, the temperature drops at least 10 degrees. So a hot rain was a new experience for Kiki and I. Alan remembers playing in it as a kid. There was even a really wild storm on Thursday… floods, wind damage…sheesh. Fun to be in, though.
Meeting Alan’s extended family was great. We met Aunts, Uncles, cousins, second-cousins-once-removed….well, I don’t know the technical name for all those relations, actually – but there were a load of them! Alan has three great-aunts who are sisters…who are also "sisters"…of the Catholic Nun variety. I knew them through Christmas cards, which we have exchanged since Alan and I got married. I have sent them pictures of Kiki every year since her birth…but this was our first time to meet. (they also hadn’t seen Alan in probably 30 years!) They are so great! Funny as all heck. We rented a 15 passenger van, and all of us, including the sisters, drove out to Ohio for a big family get-together. It was a blast. I now know where Alan gets the sassy sense of humor… and the nuns can dish it out with the rest of us! Of course, they do it without a hint of meanness… they have this sweetness and serenity about them that you know comes from a life lived with God. Kiki loved them to pieces, and the feeling was returned, I believe! They gave us a tour of their convent…they have spent their entire adult lives there….wow. Very cool.
One day we went to Kennywood Amusement Park. Now, you need to understand, that for a girl growing up with Disneyland, nothing will ever compare. Other places have more – and wilder – rides, but I have always loved Disneyland for the ambiance. It’s all about the act of immersion into the "happiest place on earth" for me… I’ve never been to another amusement park that can rival that part. That being said, Kennywood was a lot of fun! It was Kiki’s first amusement park ever, so she was completely satisfied. My little girl is a total thrill seeker! She went on rides that I was afraid to go on! Like the "Pitt Fall" which is one of those "200 foot pole up in the air with a free-fall" kind of rides …uh-ah, nooo way… but up she went – and loved it! She actually surprised me. Alan’s cousin and uncle thought she totally rocked! The only thing that scared her?? Noah’s Ark. Which is supposed to be like a ‘fun house’ kind of deal, but it was full of skeletons and stuff…like a haunted house. She hates that sort of thing, and was in tears throughout. What that has to do with Noah,…?? Well, I’ve read the Bible…. the death happened outside of the ark, dum-dums!! We went on a couple rides that totally soaked us…and because of the humidity, we never did dry out. Which was a little uncomfortable, to say the least. I think the roller coasters totally wracked up my neck… my chiropractor will probably yell at me tomorrow! Ah well, it was worth it! The next day was the zoo…a very sunny and blazing day, so fortunately it isn’t a huge zoo! One of the fun things was that so many of Alan’s relatives went with us to these places… they were just excited that we were there, and that was fun.
We also spent some time just driving around, seeing the places that Alan’s mom and dad grew up. Amazing that it’s mostly still there. You don’t find that in the west so much. Things change all the time. Pittsburgh (at least all that I saw of it) is a very old, depressed and ramshackle sort of place. I’ve never driven through so many places that were downright scary… and I used to work and make deliveries all over Los Angeles!! Where his aunt and uncle that we stayed with live, well, I’d be afraid to walk more than two houses down the street…yikes. They’ve lived there for over 50 years, and it’s really gone downhill, I guess. That must be sad for them. There were some cool old buildings, but so many of them run down, even vacant. They still have brick and even some cobblestone streets!
The worst part of the trip? Having to go downstairs and across the entire house to use the bathroom in the middle of the night…which at my age is pretty much every night. I have a greater appreciation for the master bathroom concept now, lol!
Gosh, there is so much, but I am tired of writing… I will try to post some pictures soon. And jot down anything else of interest that I remember!