1. The workers are making solid progress on putting the siding up on Josh and Adrienne's house, but in order to sleep during her nap time, Ellie has to be taken for a ride in the car.
I volunteered to be today's driver. Debbie secured Ellie in her car seat after I cooled the interior down by jumping in the car earlier and running the a/c. I drove Ellie down Rt 303 -- yesterdays rivers and ponds and lakes had completely receded. Just before entering New Jersey, we exited Rt 303 and merged onto the leafy beauty of the Palisades Parkway and I drove to its terminus, followed the signs in the roundabout that pointed me south again, and eventually arrived back in Valley Cottage.
Ellie slept soundlessly the whole time.
2. I arrived back at the Langford home at almost the same time Debbie's stepsister Gwen arrived. Gwen had been in Massachusetts and dropped by to say hello. She had her big, curly dog, Ryder, in tow. Ryder is about ten times bigger than Gibbs, but no problem. Gibbs pranced around him, leapt up on Ryder, and insisted that they play. Ryder was unfazed and even humored Gibbs a bit, but not with nearly the energy that Gibbs put out.
It was all good.
So was Gwen's visit. Gwen had been on another trip out east back in September of 2016 and visited Debbie and me. I hadn't seen Gwen since we dined at Old Line Bistro in Beltsville and at the Greek Village in Colesville. In the meantime, Gwen's mother, Debbie's stepmother, Phillis, passed away just over a year ago. It was fun today recalling stories about Phillis and talking about other news in Gwen's family.
I hope we'll see each other again -- and maybe not have five years pass.
3. Debbie and I are slowly and without conclusions just yet talking about what the next several months might look like. We like to discuss these matters over beer. It's almost automatic, when we are in this neck of the woods, to grab a table at Growler and Gill, try out some beers, and commence some serious discussion. We did just that late this afternoon. I drank small pours of Kolsch and cucumber cream ale (I wish I had jotted down the names of the beers and the brewers). I also finished a couple of small pours of IPAs that Debbie wasn't crazy about, but that were fine with me(!). I ordered one full pour to end my session -- it was brewed in Queens at SingleCut Brewing, the same place that brewed one of my favorite beers, Softly Spoken Magic Spells. Spells wasn't on tap at Growler and Gill, but SingleCut's Double Dry Hopped 2IPA called Green Plastic Watering Can was and I slowly sipped my way through this smooth and potent hops explosion.
Debbie wasn't 100 percent pleased with any of the beers she drank at Growler and Gill. I was about 93.5% pleased (!). But, Debbie's beer night was soon redeemed. She reached into the cooler and bought a pint can of Tin Barn's Back 40, cracked it open back in our room, and she loved it. As a bonus, Josh visited us while we were winding down and he poured me a small glass of a tasty saison from District 96 and poured Debbie an IPA or two of theirs which she also loved.
It was good to see Debbie's beer fortunes change for the better. Even better was the fact that we had a great time together, talking, trying out some beers, and happily arriving at no hard and fast decisions or plans for what might happen on down the line. We do, however, have plenty on the table and that's just the way we like it!