190828–Columbus, OH

Happy Birthday “Kate the Mate”. We love you! See you in October in St Pete.

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We arrived Alum Creek State Park near Columbus, OH on Wednesday, 8/28 at…..yes, 2 PM.

Later, we picked up granddaughter Ella at Day Care. It was a surprise! We all had a good laugh. We then took Ella home where her mom, who set up this ruse, was waiting for us. Ella wanted to show us some of her gymnastics moves….

Brian got home about an hour later. He and Colleen treated us to dinner at their Country Club. Beautiful setting and Mmmmm, great food.

Friday night is Ella’s sleepover with us. But first, we’ll grill up some burgers. Then, maybe take in tonight’s movie over at the amphitheater. We can’t wait…it’s “The Lego Movie” with popcorn and slushees.

The next morning, Sunday, Ella and PapPap went over to the donation pancake breakfast. Here’s Ella having a pancake with her butter…

Later, she played Buster driver…

In the meantime, Colleen and Brian used their “freedom” from parenting to get in a couple games of tennis…

Ella’s last official act was to update our travel map. She did a great job putting the state stickers in the right spot and within the lines. Awesome job, Ella.

As of today, there are only 4-5 states we missed since purchasing Buster. (That includes driving to or home from Buster storage last winter).

Brian and Colleen treated Norm to golf at their country club on Saturday afternoon. Ella drove one of the carts. (Don’t tell!). Brian can sure hit the ball. He successfully extricated himself from these trees and went on to par this hole…

Later, we headed to their favorite pizza house-Deweys. Which just happens to be directly across the street from…yes…a Graeter’s Ice Cream store. Are we still on earth or what?

On Sunday, we skipped breakfast. Later, we hosted a cookout at Buster for the Rupps and the Slanes (Brian’s sister and family whom we know and who also live in the area). Brian’s mom and dad were invited but they’re on vacation in Croatia. Here’s Chaze and Shelia (Brian’s sister) roasting marshmallows for s’mores…

Colleen, Brian and Ella pulled a big birthday surprise on Norm and Vicki. First, they gave Norm a set of disc golf frisbees. (They’re hard to find). And, she baked a “non-imploding” chocolate cake.

Some history here. When Colleen was a teenager, she made a chocolate cake for her dad. Unfortunately, it imploded. It tasted great, but looked….well…..sunk in the middle. This was the same recipe but done right. It was delicious. Ella wrapped his gift…

Vicki got a beautiful set of earrings and some chocolate truffles that she ” didn’t have to share with Norm”.

Are we still on earth, or what?

Thunderstorms put an end to the evening but everyone was ready to call it a day anyway. The rain also doused the campfire so we didn’t have to worry about it.

On Monday, Labor Day, we joined Colleen, Brian and Ella at the club’s Holiday pool party, which usually signifies the end of the swimming season at the club. (That’s because they live up Nort!)

Back at the ranch Colleen and Vicki are preparing the final supper for this visit.

Brian shared his “birthday bourbon”, Jefferson Ocean in his special glass etched with his mom’s Irish family crest and an actual emerald…..

A beautiful glass for sipping a wonderfully smooth cask-strength bourbon. Thanks for sharing, Brian.

This ended an awesome visit. Thanks Colleen, Brian and Ella. We’re already looking forward to October when Colleen and her sisters Katie and Chris descend on our home town for a girls getaway. St Pete will never be the same.

Tomorrow we depart Columbus for Cincinnati and the National Museum of the Underground Railroad.

Stay tuned……

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