Wow, it's been a long time since my last entry. I don't have a lot of time right now, but here's a quick update, as well as an introduction to our newest family member and a farewell to a long-time, much-abused but faithful-to-the-end family member.
In the last few weeks, the following notable things happened to our family:
*I bravely caught a wolf spider & humanely removed it from our house, instead of squishing it flat. Although I'm not yet comfortable with the idea of cohabitation (especially since it crawled out of a toy the Banana was holding), I've come a long way since this entry.
*A psychiatrist and his family (currently living in Alaska) came here to interview this week. They like it, and will probably move here in early December. They have a 4-year-old! Boy! And they're nice! It's hard to tell who's more excited - the Papaya or I. Either way, it's an answer to prayer, since he's been getting lonely lately without any playmates.
*The Banana completed her last free airplane flight as a lap child. Since her birth, she has taken 11 free roundtrips through the skies, including one all the way to Germany & back (actually, we had to pay a little for the international portion of that). I'd say we've gotten our money's worth. I can also say that my lap is looking forward to being empty on the next airplane trip.
*We had a great trip to North Carolina that included a lovely night with appdaddy & Queen Felicia (aka our wonderful aunt & uncle) and a fabulous week in an oceanfront Kure Beach house with all my family.
*We survived yet another on-the-road vomiting virus, which struck the Papaya first in the middle of the night and spread (with varying degrees of intensity) to most other family members.
*We received word via cellphone, halfway through the beach vacation, that our '98 Toyota Corolla workhorse, dropped off at a garage in Phoenix prior to our departure in order to have an oil leak assessed, required extensive repairs that would cost more than it was worth.
*We spent several hours over the next couple days employed in the following fun beach activities: huddling over my brother-in-law's computer in McDonalds (where we could pick up wireless), analyzing vehicles on Consumer Reports; engaging in deep discussions with each other & soliciting advice from the extended family; making scores of calls to various Phoenix car dealers & waiting for them to call us back; and agreeing to buy a particular vehicle (sight unseen) over the phone.
*We arrived back in Phoenix last Saturday evening & picked up our faithful Lydia (Corolla) from the garage. The next morning, we drove her to Showcase Honda to trade her in & buy our pre-reserved Honda Pilot 2007. To our great relief, the vehicle was as described (brand new), and the absolutely incredible price was as promised. Within three hours, I was transferring all our luggage & junk into our beautiful new SUV. Soon afterwards we were driving away, slightly dazed that it had all been so easy. We didn't even have our checkbook or the title to our old Corolla with us (we hadn't been planning to buy a new car). No problem! We were still the proud owners of Papaya Daddy's dream car. (We did promise to actually mail a check to pay for the vehicle when we got home.)
*Within the first two hours of driving the Pilot from Phoenix to Flagstaff, we accomplished what it took six years of driving Lydia to do: we doubled the mileage (it helped that the Pilot's mileage was 126 when we bought it, as opposed to the 80,000 miles that were on the Corolla when we purchased it!)
*I have become something I never thought I would be (and still regard with some sheepishness): the owner of a new SUV. We will, however, use this SUV for the purpose for which it was intended: we hope to explore the many enticing dirt roads that surround us, that have hitherto been denied us (or should have been denied us). Although so far, I haven't done anything more than try various dirt roads (about 100 meters long) connecting the main highway to the post office.
*We now have a vehicle that is actually large enough to accommodate guests (it seats 8)! No more renting cars for visitors (if they number more than 1) or contorting my body in a poor attempt to crookedly and uncomfortably squeeze my hips between the two car seats in the back of the Corolla (if it is a single guest). No more jigsaw puzzle maneuvering to fit our mammoth grocery purchases in a small trunk & roof box! And, most tantalizing, we now have ample car space for a third child - a possibility that creates emotions in the Papaya Daddy ranging from ambivilence to palpable fear & trembling.
Welcome to the family, [still unnamed but definitely male - any ideas?]