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July 13, 2002
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago
four years ago

Bernd and Simon Arrive

12:14 pm: I woke up thinking I had a cold. My nose was stuffed, I was coughing, and I ached all over. Of course, my allergies have started acting up in the last few days, I'd got to sleep with a wet head of hair, I had used a bunch of muscles yesterday while swimming that I haven't used for a long time, and I was tired from being up a couple of hours the night before.

When Jet got up at 7:15, I nursed him and then John took him upstairs for everyone else to take care of. We went right back to sleep. John got up sometime, and I ignored him and all the thumping and bumping upstairs and tried to just sleep as much as I could. There were breakfast noises, and then getting ready noises, and John came down to tell me the plans of the rest of the clan. They were leaving in 'half an hour' to go to the library and get videos for Maureen and Jet. It was a good hour before the left, and by that time I was awake.

Right in time for everyone to have left me the house to myself. Wow. I ate a bran blob, copied the recipe into my Visor, drank orange juice, sipped coffee, and reveled in the quiet house. Folks came back around noon, with Jet fast asleep in the pack John was wearing. They'd had a good walk, and he'd fallen asleep on the way back. So we let him nap for a while, and made plans for lunch.

Cathie called to say that she was going to pick Walt up, so we didn't have to do that trip or figure out who was going to take care of Jet while that happened. Isabel and George are going into Seattle for a memorial service for the husband of one of their friends. Jan had had plans for lunch. So we'd thought, for a while, that we might have to take Jet with us to get Walt. But with Cathie's reprieve, we made new plans.

Big groups of people need plans; but they sure take a lot longer to reach consensus. I'm kind of glad of all my experience with the Horde and large group dynamics with them, as it sure makes these experiences a lot less frustrating. It's just the way the dynamics work.

John and I went off to pick up Bernd and his five-year-old cousin, Simon. Jet seemed perfectly happy with everyone at the house, so we slipped out and ran to the airport. It was good that John had me with him because the carpool lane was empty. We got down in good time, parked and then headed for the top of the one escalator that the entire South satellite empties out through.

It's an odd setup. Part of it is because Seatac has always been a low-security facility, with people able to meet others at the gates, on the most part. So with the new security measures, they've had to improvise.

There were dozens of folks standing at the top of the escalator. Folks came up in small bunches, as the train would bring a few at a time as they got out of customs. Finally, there was a head that appeared and then kept going up and up and up. It was Bernd. He's nearly seven feet tall, and right behind him was a small blond boy. Five-year-old Simon was following very closely on his uncle's heels. He was also very quiet.

Bernd hugged John and I hello. It's been nearly ten years since I've seen him, the last time was at John's ten year reunion for his high school. But he was pretty much as I remembered him. John and he talked happily while we headed for the baggage claim. There was a cord hanging from Bernd's backpack, and Simon would grab it to keep up with his long-legged uncle while dragging his roll bag, which kept rolling over his sandalled heels. Simon was pretty droopy looking, given that it was 5 am his time, it was no wonder.

We headed to our car in the parking garage. The very first car we see in the garage is this thirty foot long limousine. Simon was very impressed. We all stood in front of the limousine as Bernd took Simon's picture in front of it. Americans have big cars.


Our rented Impala did nothing to change Simon's mind about the size of our cars. He nestled quietly into the back seat and just curled into the corner while John and Bernd talked. I just sat in the other back seat and watched and listened. Simon seemed pretty tired, but he also seemed to be a bit like Jet in a new situation. Given that he didn't speak any English, it didn't seem to be unusual.

We got back to the house. They hopped out, unloaded things into their room. Bernd got hugged by everyone. That was very cool.

Paul had gone out to get pizza from Papa Murphy's for everyone. When he came back, Simon was far more comfortable, and running around a little and teasing Jet. He seemed to know what to do with a smaller sibling, as he has a two and a half year old sibling at home. Jet was soon laughing and running around and chasing Simon instead of vying for attention from Marina and all the adults around Marina. That was a very welcome change.

Jet responded to Simon immediately, and I think that some of it must have been because he remembered playing with Alex. That was fun to see.

Paul arrived with pizzas, they got baked in the midst of the chaos of everyone being there. There was such a whirl of people that Isabel gave up on order and told everyone to just eat when they got their food. Jet plowed happily through half a slice of vegetarian pizza. I had a couple slices of a spinach and ground beef pizza and half a slice of a chicken pizza. Everyone got salad and pizza and plenty to drink and there was a party.

We needed to get some new shoes for Jet, as his feet have outgrown both his sandals and his sneakers. He was saying "Owie" every time we tried to shove his sneakers onto his feet. So we had to take him along with us to Target. Simon and Bernd wanted a retail experience, so we took them with us. On the way out, I tried to put a jacket onto Jet, and Simon, surprising me, helped me put the jacket onto him! Wow. Okay. I can now see that older kids may well be able to help with the younger ones, if there's enough difference.

Simon started acting like a little five-year-old boy on the Target trip. He and I grinned at each other in the back seat. He and Jet exchanged pats and words. Jet's in his own baby language, and Simon in German. When we got into the store, Jet sat happily in the car's seat while Simon hung off the side and mugged at him. They laughed a lot.

Bernd headed out to find something and left Simon with us as John had enough rudimentary German to keep Simon in line. We headed over to the shoe section to find shoes for Jet, and went all the way through it to figure out where his shoes were. Simon spotted a treasure on the way through and he hopped off to grab them off the shelf, while we started trying shoes on Jet.

Simon crooked his finger at me and when I leaned down he put an arm over my neck and whispered to me in a flood of German. I had no idea what he said, but I think the gist must have been, "Can I have these shoes?"

I asked him to try them on. I had him stand up and when I pressed down on the toe of the shoe his toes weren't right up against the edge. I was glad of that as there seemed to only be one other pair like it and it was the same size as the pair he had on. They fit. They were on sale, too, for about half the usual price. Clearing out the last things, I guess. Jet's shoes were on sale as well, less than eight dollars, and they were more flexible than his old sneakers. Yay! I've heard of thirty dollar kid shoes. I'm glad that Jet's are cheap enough.

When Bernd came back, Simon swarmed over him and talked to him urgently. John said that we'd buy the shoes for Simon, and Bernd offered to buy Jet's. They were about the same price, but John turned him down, and Simon leaped upon the side of the cart and started yelling, "Schneler! Schneler!" and bouncing about excitedly. That made me giggle, and I pushed the cart faster. At least I knew that word.

Simon loved it. Jet jabbered and bounced about and kicked. They talked to each other the whole way through the checkout line and once we were in the parking lot, I looked around and then ran. Simon looked startled. An adult doing what he asked! That was fun. The three of us laughed like crazy the whole way to the car, and then waited for the other guys. Simon talked to both Jet and I urgently. And we got skeleton translations when the translators got there.

From there we headed back home. I was very impressed that Simon fell fast asleep on the way home and the moment we pulled into the driveway, Simon woke up, popped up and was running out of the car. Wow. He joined the general chaos in the house, and mixed it up with all the other Rostyki.

We finally had to ask him to quiet down so Marina could have even the more remote of chances at going to sleep. Jet took a while to get to sleep as well, but he did eventually nod off. I was glad.

The house was a little too busy for me to sleep well. Jet had a hard time, too. And it was hard not to wake up at every board creak, bathroom flush, and middle of the night cry. I think Marina was up twice, Jet was up twice, and Simon was not up at all. Amazing. It was fun having everyone in the same home, but it certainly wasn't as restful as I would have liked.

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