On Sunday, we met our aunt and her best friend for a little visit in Albany. We've done this before. It shouldn't have been so complicated, right?
Albany is about 3 hours (or sometimes less) from our house, so it's quite a trip just for lunch. But when you compare it to driving to Buffalo, it really isn't so bad. Aunt D. takes the train in from Buffalo, and that takes much longer. Plus, when your family lives far away, you have to be creative with the ways you get to see them.
But this time around, we had been leaving messages for Aunt D. and had not gotten to speak with her. This was a little worrying, but nothing too out of the ordinary. On Sunday morning, we were 5 minutes away from getting in the car when we got a call from Jim's sister. She said that D. had told her that P. was getting in late the night before, and that they were planning on taking a boat tour of the grain elevators in Buffalo on Sunday. This did not sound promising, particularly since D. had e-mailed a couple of weeks before, saying that she had tried to schedule the train ride for Saturday, but couldn't get good seats so settled on Sunday. If P. wasn't getting into Buffalo until Saturday night, why was D. looking at train tickets then? We began to worry that the dates had been mixed up. But we couldn't reach D. at home and couldn't verify that she was still in Buffalo, so off we left for Albany. We were pretty sure that D. and P. were not going to be on the train, but we figured it would be an adventure.
We got lunch in Albany, since we got there at noon and D. and P. weren't scheduled to arrive until 1:45. We kept waiting for the call from D., saying that she was still in Buffalo but not on the train. But the call never came, and at 1:45, we found ourselves at the train station, feeling hopeful. Actually, we got there at about 1:15 and tried to supervise Annika as she ran around the train station for about 30 minutes, using her "outdoor voice" in a very boisterous manner. :) I'm sure all the people waiting to get on the train were praying that we wouldn't be in their car!
The train pulls in a little before 1:45, and low and behold, we watch D. and then P. get off the train! They're here! Yippy! It was quite amazing. We waved from the window of the station. It turns out that they did nearly miss the trip. They got home from the airport late the night before, and P. noticed that D. had messages on her answering machine. Thankfully, Jim had left a message about seeing them at the train station, D. checked her tickets, and realized that the train ride was the next day.
We went back to the same restaurant where we had eaten lunch, and got to visit for a couple of hours before D. and P. had to get back on the train and go home. It was a short visit, but it was a lot of fun. P. had never met Annika before. Annika made sure that P. got to see her belly button. That's important, you know.
Our trip home took 5 hours. Over an hour of this time was spent at the beginning of the Mass. Pike, in completely stopped traffic. About half a mile ahead of us, 3-4 trees had fallen into the highway due to a sudden storm, with rain and high winds. It took a long time to clear them out of the road. Then we hit a ton of traffic in the usual places, as well as a lot of rain and fog.
What an exhausting weekend - it felt like on both days, we spent a good chunk of the day in the car. And Jim keeps the travel up this week, with a one-day round trip to D.C. tomorrow. I'll be here at home tomorrow, trying to figure out how to entertain an energetic toddler while it continues to pour rain outside (rare summer Nor'easter since Sunday).