Sunday, July 30, 2017

Robert's Summer Visit - Part One

It's that time again! We try to have Robert come for a visit every summer. The summer zooms by so quickly, between our busy schedule and Robert's. School starts in two weeks, so we barely made it in time this year.

We picked up Robert on Thursday, August 27. Friday morning, as soon as he got up, he asked for his "pre-breakfast." This is a tradition that he counts on when he's at our house. Since Grandpa is the breakfast chef, and Grandpa isn't ready to cook until around 8:30 or 9:00, Robert eats a pre-breakfast to tide him over until real breakfast. Pre-breakfast is usually a bowl of cereal - some sweetened kind that he probably can't have at home. But what happens at Grandma's stays at Grandma's!

Pre-breakfast on Friday was Cocoa Puffs! Yumm. 

While Robert was eating, I kept hearing a loud peeping noise, which seemed to be coming from our front door. I opened the door, and in the corner, cuddled right up against the door, was this little feller. . . .

I thought he might have fallen out of a nest or something. I tried to give him some water, but the drops just rolled off his bill, and he wouldn't open his mouth for them. I slipped some plastic bags over my hands and was going to move him into the shade and protection of some bushes, but by the time I came back outside, he was GONE! Now Robert and I were wondering whether he had actually moved to safety on his own or, in Robert's words, "been eaten by a predator." I guess we'll never know.

So, after both pre-breakfast and real breakfast, Robert and I packed our over-night bags and climbed in the car for a one-night road trip. I thought he might enjoy a mini-version of what Clara and I try to do each fall. We drove to Glen Rose, which is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from home. Our destination there was the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, a drive-through safari park. It took about 2 and a half hours to drive through, including a stop, mid-way, at the gift shop. I tried to convince him that a souvenir should remind him of something he'd seen at the park, but it was obvious that he was really going to be unhappy if he didn't get the little plastic box of sharks' teeth. So that's what he came away with.

He was a little disappointed with the variety of animals he saw. So many of the different animals were in the deer and/or goat family. Deer, he told me, are NOT wild animals, because you see them all the time. Everywhere. I sort of agreed with him. I had hoped for some more exotic animals, myself, but the rhinos and cheetahs (both of which were behind a fence) and the giraffes were pretty exotic, I guess.

Fallow Deer (native to Europe, Asia Minor and Iran), Loved their antlers.

Aoudad (native to the deserts of Morocco, western Sahara to Egypt and Sudan)), also known as Barbary sheep and is the only African wild sheep.

This Aoudad came up and stuck his nose right into our open window.
Addax (native to Mauritania to Egypt, western Sahara and Sudan). This is the most desert adapted of all antelopes, which can live most of its life without drinking, deriving sufficient moisture from the plants it eats.

Cheetah (native of Africa to India).

Blackbuck (native to India and Pakistan). Due to their popularity on hunting ranches, there are more blackbuck in Texas than in their native India.

Another Fallow Deer - female.

Giraffe (native to northeastern Africa, Somalia and north Kenya). We were told, at the place where we purchased our tickets, that we could feed the giraffes by hand, holding the food in a flat hand. But, although we saw several of them, none of them were enticed by the food we held out to them.

Ostrich (native to Africa). The park brochure said, "Their eyes are bigger than their brain."

Southern Black Rhino (native to South Africa). 

More Addax, resting in the shade of a tree.

I think this is a Grevy's Zebra (native to Somalia, Ethiopia and northern Kenya)  but possibly a Hartman's Mountain Zebra (native to mountainous zone between the Namib Desert and the central plateau in Namibia). I'm not sure, but . . . I know it's a zebra! :-)

After the safari park, we drove a half-hour away to Cleburne, TX, to spend the night at a hotel. I think Robert enjoyed that almost as much as the park! In the morning, when I told him we needed to pack up our things, he looked at me quizzically and asked, "Why?" "We need to put everything in the car before we leave," I told him. "Leave?" he asked. "I thought we would be living here longer."

We popped popcorn to snack on while watching some kid shows on TV, before bed.

Robert in front of "his" hotel.
After packing up the car and having complimentary breakfast at the hotel, we drove to Walmart. Kelsey had sent the list of school supplies for second grade, so we went to search the store for all the items. It was quite a treasure hunt. Robert considered this a chore, and really didn't want to do it, but he was a pretty good sport about it. Maybe that was because he knew when we were finished shopping, we were going to go to the theater to see The Emoji Movie!

Robert's movie review: "It was surprisingly good!" Yeah, it really wasn't bad, despite the Poop Family Emojis (Patrick Stewart, you've sunk to a new low! LOL)

We had lunch at Schlotzky's and headed home. The video players in the backseat of my new car were invaluable on this trip. Two-plus hours is a long time in the car for a seven-year-old boy. Here's what he looked like with his eyes and ears glued to a video.

The videos certainly made the travel time go faster for him. 
So . . . you win some, you lose some, and some end in a draw. I think this experimental mini-road trip ended in a draw. It was okay, but Robert seemed to feel that it was a lot of time riding in a car just to see a park and a movie. The ends, apparently, didn't quite justify the means, in this case. I guess I'll wait until he's a little older to try something like it again. He does better keeping closer to Grandma's house.

When we got home, I found Dan trying to figure out what to do . . . our air conditioning was malfunctioning, and it was the hottest day we'd seen this summer (106 degrees). I won't go into all the gory details, but by bed time the house was getting quite hot. Luckily, the AC kicked on again, sometime around midnight. This pattern continued repeatedly . . . it would work for a while and give us some relief, and then it would die and let the house get uncomfortably hot before kicking on again briefly. We limped on like that all night. But even worse than having a hot house was the fact that the AC was leaking, BADLY, and apparently had been doing so for a long time, unknown to us. Water got under our wood floor, near our master bedroom, and ruined the wood. Once the AC is fixed, we'll have to bring in the flooring experts to do that repair.

So ended the first three days of Robert's visit - Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

To be continued . . .

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