August 10, 2016: Starting to Catch Up on SGL

It’s Wednesday.  I’m still in the back room being as productive as I can be.  I have been getting a lot done and I was home “alone”, just be babysitting the little kids or some combination of them, for most of the day.

I have been working hard for a few days now to start getting caught up on SGL.  I am two months behind and going crazy trying to get to the missing days so that I can get things posted.  I have been writing posts now and then since the end of May but unless I have every day, I cannot get them posted.  So they just sit in my drafts folder waiting to get published. So at some point there are going to be an awful lot of them.

The plan, currently, is that I am going to drive up to Dallas tomorrow evening and spent the weekend at the house.  Three years without getting to see it at all, this should be very interesting.  I really wonder what it looks like up there.  I’ve missed out on a lot of things.  I can’t believe how long it has been since I have seen everyone.

I was working at my laptop all day.  Nothing exciting to report.  Colton might be coming home tomorrow.  The little kids continue to have so much fun together.  This is the final week before people start going back to school so this is their last chance to get all of the energy out of their system.  They will not be together like this again until Christmas.  It is too bad that except for long school holidays there is just no time for them to all be together.

We are considering the idea of going to Mexico in the early fall.  It is close and easy and cheap.  Going to Europe feels like it will be too much cost and effort for too little time.  So we are thinking that if we do Mexico and maybe Belize in the fall, and save Italy for the winter, we will spend less and get more time in Italy, plus finally get to spent real time in Mexico and add Belize to our list, none of us have been there at all, yet.  And likely we will get to see Guatemala just by the nature of being in the area.


August 9, 2016: Getting Word Done in Houston

It is Tuesday in Houston.  Last night we discovered the hedgehog running around the house and Dominica managed to capture it and get it back into its cage.  This morning we found out that this is a normal hedgehog activity around here and that they let it run around at night and just catch it again in the morning.  Hedgehogs are weird.  That explains why the hedgehog was not too happy with us capturing it at night.

I spent the day locked away in the back room writing, as usual.  I am pretty happy with the setup, though.  I am able to get a lot of work done and I don’t feel like I am in the way or being interrupted all of the time. And the new laptop is still kicking all kinds of butt.  This is the best laptop or desktop setup that I have ever had.  Ubuntu Linux on this powerhouse of a machine and using my Christmas Logitech mouse that Liesl got for me as a present is all working out very well.

The kids played together all day long.  They had so much fun that they totally missed that they had access to the second episode of Minecraft: Story Mode.  They did not play it at all today, even after Liesl had played through the first episode three times yesterday.

I watched the kids for much of the day, again.  There were trips to the hospital to see Colton and many trips out for Pokemon Go driving.  And Francesca had a meeting at work that went until very late so dinner was not until around nine thirty.

August 8, 2016: New Baby

Our first day in Texas since December.  It feels so much like we were just here, but it was way more than half a year ago.  We left just after Christmas and we have been all over the world since then.  Like a dozen countries.  Such an odd feeling.

Dominica and I were both awake pretty early this morning.  Britt did not go to the hospital last night, but was ready to go pretty much first thing this morning.  I was barely set up in the bedroom with a desk and my new laptop (which is so awesome) before Joe and Britt came by to drop off the dogs on their way to the hospital.  This is the first that we have seen them since being pregnant any amount, we last saw them at Christmas, of course, when they announced it.

While they were there at the house, Joe stepped on my foot on accident and broke my big toe nail, bending it backwards in the middle and it bled quite a bit.  That hurt some.

Francesca bought Minecraft: Storymode Episode One on the Playstation Three, this morning, and the kids played that much of the day. Garrett played it through and the three little girls watched him play.  After he completed it, Liesl played through the game two more times on her own.  She apparently really likes it.

Dominica and Francesca went to a local park and drove around catching Pokemon most of the day.  I stayed home and watched the kids.  With the laptop set up in the bedroom, it is not too bad.  I am able to be productive as long as they are being good.  Although the dogs got out of control a bit today, I had to clean up after them a few times.  We even had an escapee, Indy got out under the fence in the back but Garrett found him out front and brought him in.

The four littles had a lot of fun playing together all day.  They were nuts.

Dominica and Francesca came home and made dinner.  We had taco salads.

Right after dinner, Dominica, Francesca and Bennie went to the hospital as things had not continued to move and the decision was made to do a C-section.  So they got there just in time to see the new baby, Colton Tocco, right as he was born.  Emily and I stayed home to watch the kids.  I told the little cousins that they had a new baby cousin and they exploded with excitement and marched all over the house for at least an hour.  It was absolute mayhem.

The adults could not spend any time at the hospital, once Colton was born everyone was ushered out and sent home. Nothing to do there.  So they were back home very quickly and we more or less managed to get all of the kids off to bed at eleven.  We are all feeling pretty tired today.

August 7: From Kentucky to Texas

Somehow, even with only four hours of sleep, I woke up completely on my own at six thirty this morning and Dominica was awake a few minutes later.  We both just got up and started packing up the hotel room.  Since we were awake we might as well get this show on the road.  We had to stop early last night so we have extra miles that we need to cover today.

Dominica and the girls went down to breakfast while I got in the shower since the girls take so long to eat breakfast (or any meal.)  This let us get things done in parallel.  We were fed and on the road nice and early.  Not super early, but we did well and took advantage of our free meal.   Luciana was even happy to eat her scrambled eggs.  That almost never happens.

We were packed up in our little Hyundai and on the road before nine.  It is a long way to go from Bowling Green to Houston.  We really had wanted to be in Nashville or even Alabama before stopping last night but it just did not make any sense.

We had a good drive today.  We made excellent time and the little car did a great job.  The gas mileage on that thing has been excellent, it costs hardly anything to drive across the country with it.  We are easily getting the forty miles to the gallon that they told us that it got.  I’m moving fast, but have the car on Eco mode all of the time.  You really feel the lack of power, but it keeps you from burning fuel accidentally.

We hit essentially zero construction and almost no real traffic the whole way.  We got a little spotty rain here and there but the weather cooperated well for nearly the entire drive as well.  It was a very good day for driving.

We stopped every so often to get coffee at McDonald’s here and there which let us take regular bathroom breaks as well.  I like to get out and stretch so stopped every few hours works out well and keeps the troops pretty happy.  If we do it well, getting coffee and taking bathroom breaks together, we only stop a tiny bit more than doing the drive in a death march fashion but it is so much more comfortable.

We were into Houston around eleven.  We beat the Google Maps estimated time, even with all of our stops.  What a great day!  We even stopped at some point in Mississippi and got Subway for dinner and ate it there, and did this well.

All of the little cousins were awake and came out to great us as we pulled in.  We were exhausted but it took an hour or two for us to spin down and manage to get off to bed.

Are arrival time is perfect, Brittany has been having contractions and might head into the hospital yet tonight, but more likely tomorrow.  So we arrived just in time to get to see the new baby as soon as he decides to grace us with his presence.

August 6, 2016: Driving from New York to Kentucky

It is Saturday and today we are driving from dad’s place in New York as far as we can get towards Texas.   I have been so tired and so short on sleep for the last week that I had to just sleep in this morning as much as I could, which was until around nine thirty, and then I took a long, relaxing shower.  Today is going to be a long day and I am feeling rather tired and run down.

When I was showered, Dominica already had Sharon and Leo’s Malibu all loaded up so that we could set off right away.  I drove all of us, including dad, up to the Rochester airport so that we could get to Enterprise and pick up the rental car.  We accidentally went to the wrong location first and thought that the car was from the location across the street from the airport but it was actually from the airport itself.  So we had to quickly drive back to the airport and get dropped off and deal with it there.  But it was all quick and easy.

We rented a little Hyundai Accent in red.  It fit us pretty easily and drove well.  I am decently happy with this rental and as always Enterprise was great to deal with.

We stopped at McDonald’s before even getting onto the highway to grab breakfast.  Dominica is always impatient and hates not getting right onto the road but this always saves a lot of time and makes everyone happy.  So we did that and got a good start on our drive.

We had a good driving day.  It was after noon, but not quite yet one, when we got onto the road and the weather was perfect and we made great time all the way through Pennsylvania and down through Ohio.  Getting started so late made it a bit tough as we needed to wrap on the day on the early side.  But I felt good and we were making pretty good time all day long.

Luciana was really interested in our travels and asked to be alerted to every new state that we came to.  I found her a kid’s travel atlas of the US states at one of the gas station stops that we came to in Ohio and got it for her.  She liked that a lot and tried to follow along with what state we were in.

Nothing really to report.  Our only “mishap” was missing a detour exist where Interstate 71 goes over the Ohio River in downtown Cincinatti and we had to loop back and take the 471 bridge instead.  We lost about five minutes there, but that was about it.  Not bad at all.

I was feeling good and doing well around midnight, but we looked ahead and the hotels were full in Nashville and it would be far too late if we tried to push on to central Alabama.  So our only good choice was to stop for the night in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Thankfully the Hampton Inn there had a few rooms left, or at least one, which we got.

It was about two thirty in the morning when I finally managed to drift off to sleep.  All of the driving and caffeine makes it hard to just get to the hotel and pass out.  I did set up my laptop and catch up a little when we got to the hotel.  I’m so happy that this new laptop is really working now.  Today was my first test of it.