We aren't visiting family, but we are making some deliveries.
With nothing better to do than hang out at home, like we've done for the past few months, we decided to deliver a little Christmas cheer to some of the grandparents. The wife's parents, long divorced and living in separate nearby cities, normally gather for events like birthdays and holidays, but haven't all year because of the virus stuff. She decided to make them some reheatable meals, and deliver some small gifts. We don't usually do gifts between the adults anymore, a rule grandpa breaks a lot, but there's always a little something.
After spending the bulk of yesterday preparing, the meals were ready and packed. We stuffed the car with their meals and gifts, and some gifts for the grandsons, who also live nearby. There was a bit of a blizzard yesterday, but the roads were no longer closed. We agreed to drive carefully, not that I wouldn't without agreeing, and set out for an expected long day of driving.
We trekked first for grandpa's house, since he lives farther away. We left a little later than hoped, and planned to humor the kids with a car picnic, with take-out cheeseburgers. We were only about 20 minutes into our hour long journey when the hunger pleas began. I said we'd stop at the next one, but had remembered where the burger joints are wrong, and passed the next one in the wrong lane. I recalled another shortly after. I recalled incorrectly. It was another 15 minutes before we passed one. We exited the highway, grabbed take-out, and hit the road again. Kids were sated for a bit. Then we let them plug in with iPads, and they were silent for most of the rest of the driving.
We made good time to grandpa's house without much more than an occasional traffic slow down and slick spot. A few bridges had some extra icy parts, and some drifts across the highway caused slushy and slippery ruts, for which the cars appreciably slowed. The girls got out to deliver the goods to grandpa. Everyone was masked, and the interaction was just inside his door, as it's still a cold and windy day. Grandpa greatly appreciated the surprise and gesture and food. He had a hard time hearing with masks on, and hearing-aids out, so there was some mask dropping to speak...kind of defeating the purpose. He and we have been following the rules when we make our jaunts out, and staying home the rest of the time, so we're pretty sure all are well.
We head out for grandma's house. We've made this journey a few hundred times over the last decades that they've lived in these homes. There's a pretty windy, shaded, and tree-lined route. Or there's a pretty flat, slightly hilly, farmland route. There's about a 2-minute difference by GPS plan, slightly faster on the windy route, which is meaningless given the few stop-signs and intersections on either route; any little slow down shifts more than that on either route. We normally opt for the windy route, as it's a little more interesting to drive, and scenic for the passengers. It follows the river for much of the drive, and cutting along and between the bluffs, is generally more varied than the corn fields. Today, with the wind and roads, we chose the long straight run. As expected, it was uneventful, and pretty dull. It was a little interesting, as the road less traveled, since there were things we didn't recall seeing on our previous handful of treks on this route.
Again, the girls hopped out to make the delivery. Grandma was pleasantly surprised. She was more strict, and able to hear, so they did the entire exchange outside with masks. She chided us for trekking about against the orders, although we weren't staying long, grouping unmasked indoors, nor breaking any normal social distancing rules. She admonished us a little for driving in such weather, but accepted our assessment that it wasn't that bad, and gave her approval of my careful driving.
We shot off for the much shorter jaunt to drop the few toys at the grandboys' house. As we hit the last few turns in this leg, our little started to lose his mind. He was bored of the iPad, starting to get a little dinner hungry, and was probably exhausted from being strapped in his chair all day, despite our encouragements to stand and stretch, as dad did, when we made our stops. Dad and daughter made the run to drop the grandboys' toys off, and made some quick conversation at their front door, while mom and the little had some words.
We made for home, and quick-prepped some dinner. Out of the car, nerves settled, and attitudes adjusted. Everyone calmed, and relived the day trek. It was good to see our people, even a little bit. It could have been more, probably inside for longer, and still everyone would be fine, but we're being careful.
After eating, we opened the gifts under the tree. The kids got some toys, but no clothes, oddly. Mom got some slippers, and dad some socks. Everyone know that Santa should be coming, so the girls threw some sugar cookies down while the boys got ready for bed.
The little is in bed now, falling asleep after a few minutes of cursory protestation. The bigger little is done with cookies, and is now preparing for bed. She's becoming independent, and usually gets ready and tucks in alone.
A long day.