Did I mention that one of the best things about last Monday was seeing family? Three sisters in one day, and 3 granddaughters and a daughter-in-law too. Theresa, Judy and I stopped by to see our sister Elizabeth at the thrift shop where she works (she so has the dream job!); we shopped and visited at the same time. I left with more than I thought I would because they had a golden oak washstand and the price was right and it fit in my car, so it came home with me along with all the other finds of the day. (Yes, I had photos of all of them but you know what happened. Durn).
In the evening Theresa and I visited with our daughter-in-law Jennifer and her girls. They are moving fast into the world of adulthood. Cassidy now has a publishing contract with Young Guns Music in Nashville, TN. They have placed 6 of her songs in Nickleodeon shows already, and she continues to work on her album. Kate is editor-in-chief of her high school's literary magazine and is officially signed to attend Christopher Newport University next year. Allison received a scholarship to attend Flint Hill School next year--she is 14 and an excellent volleyball player, getting looks from some major universities already. The girls are moving on so quickly and it was a treat to actually see all three of them in one place at the same time.
The bad thing happened the next day. Actually, it started on Monday when I noticed that my car really was having trouble shifting gears. It's an automatic, so there wasn't much I could do to help it. We'd noticed a couple odd things in the week before I left but it seemed to be running okay. But Tuesday morning when I got in the car to head off to the DC I-495 beltway, the car would not go in gear at all. Nothing. It wouldn't even move an inch.
That sounds bad, but really it was a good thing. I mean, consider what might have happened had I actually been on the Beltway in all that traffic, and then my car quit. As it was, I was in my sister's driveway, my brother-in-law was there to help and offered his car to me for the rest of my trip. Jay also called a garage and got my car in for repairs. The bad part was the bill: $2890.00. Ouch. There wasn't much to be done about it, though. The car needed a new transmission and that was that. So I drove off in Jay's car with its ultra conservative bumper stickers. (I told Jay I'd bring it back with some new liberal stickers!).
I left Bristow and headed for the madness of the Beltway. I'm a country driver; traffic here has an entirely different meaning from the same word in the DC area. I managed to survive, though, and while driving at 5 miles an hour in bumper to bumper traffic, I saw what I believe might have been the space shuttle coming in to Dulles Airport. I saw a man standing on top of a camper at a dealership and people standing on the tops of buildings and realized that they were watching for the shuttle. I saw something in the distance that certainly was no airplane or other familiar aircraft. I wanted a closer look, but in that traffic? No way. Still, it was exciting to know history was being made over my head as I inched along.
I arrived at my friend Ellouise's right on time, and we took a little tour of the area before dinner. I was raised just an hour away but had never really seen this part of the DC suburbs. The homes have had 50 years or more to settle in, and the azaleas and shady trees were just stunningly beautiful. We spent the evening visiting with her daughter Karen, then it was off to bed to prepare for Wednesday's studio recording and my evening concert.