My Three Weeks Later…Part 4

This is the Part that will wind them all up, I promise. Beginning on September 23, the day dawned bright and beautiful as every day had since I’d arrived in Seattle. There had been one day when it drizzled but no real rain at all. When we walked to the car from the house, it was over grass as brown as a sparrow’s back. Unbelievable.

The weather had been balmy for the first week but the night of the 19th, I had to resort to sleeping with the hot water bottle merm had given me for Christmas. After that, I was even carrying it around in the daytime. With the cooler temperatures, there was still no rain. My BIL had told me there had been one day of rain in 68 and I wasn’t prepared to disagree. The trees were still green but the grass everywhere was dead.

DD and merm had promised to take me to Theo Chocolate for a tour. DD was hoping merm would get home from a meeting with friends in time to do the driving but she had to bite the bullet and get behind the wheel.

We set out with plenty of time to spare but, in spite of the GPS, DD made a wrong turn and had to double back more than once. Then she was trying to find a free parking space within walking distance of the factory but it was nigh onto impossible. I spied a lot where we could park for $5. In my book, that was pretty steep but we were cutting it close as it was. She circled around and turned in. Then she didn’t have $5 so I dug out five ones and we folded each one up and pushed them into the tiny slot.

The Fremont Oktoberfest was underway on the street where the factory is so it was wall to wall people. We threaded our way through. merm met us at the door and we pulled on our head coverings and went into the room where the initial talk was already underway. The guide got us up to speed and I was glad to see we were in time for the real deal—samples. First, we got to smell and handle the cocoa beans. There was a bowl of husks with the info that quantities could be bought for mulch but not for use around dogs. Then the tasting started.

After we’d been educated on several different kinds of chocolate, we started through the factory. It doesn’t operate on the weekend except for tours so we didn’t really get to see it in action. The machinery was explained and we saw huge containers of chocolate that were being kept at around 90 degrees. One of them had almost three TONS of the liquid chocolate while the others weren’t so full.

The different steps were explained and then we were let loose in the store. Each flavor of chocolate had a little chute of sample pieces we could try. I tried lots of it and finally settled on some to bring home plus some to give as gifts. When I got to the register and reached for my credit card, I didn’t have it. I’d checked in for my flight online that morning and went ahead and paid for my luggage with my credit card. I’d failed to put it back in my purse. I had my new bank card but it hadn’t been activated yet. It did work, though, and I was very relieved.

We had to go out to eat one last time before I left. I wanted to go to Araya’s because when I’d been there before, I’d only had a salad. Pulling into the parking lot, we found it closed. It was just after 3:30 and the hours on Sunday were 11:30 to 3:30. DD had been promoting Cafe Flora so that’s where we went.

The food was delicious and I ate more than I should have. Of course I had to go to the bathroom and I took a picture of the framed piece hanging inside the stall. If you want to read all of it, click on it and select a larger size.

On the stall wall

I was stuffed. That didn’t stop me from having some chocolate coconut ice cream at the house, though.

Being my last night there, merm had to take some pictures. She got out her best camera and went to work on DD and me.

Contemplation

Mother/daughter

Autumn leaves

Roses in front of the house

Then she set up the tripod at almost dark and took a series of the three of us. Here’s one of them.

merm, moi, and dd

DD wanted to watch a movie that was new for all of us but I convinced her I’d prefer to see one I’d seen before so I’d know what was going on. She and merm put up with my choice of Last Holiday. Following that, merm transferred some material from her computer to mine for the flight home. She was Skyping with her mom so I was able to chat with her a bit, too.

With all the chocolate I’d eaten, I was wired. I got my packing done and DD weighed my suitcase. It came in at a little over 47 lubs. That was a relief!

I went to bed but not to sleep. In all, I probably was out for maybe two and a half hours. Too much chocolate! No matter. I had to get up and go.

There were some berries in the fridge so I had half of them and an orange for breakfast. I scurried around, showered, dressed and cried over leaving my girls so far away. merm would take me to the airport on her way to work.

I was there well ahead of my flight time. We’d been able to take advantage of the express lane on the way in. merm hauled my suitcase out of the trunk and steered me in the right direction. We hugged and she was gone.

Even though I’d checked in online, I had to do it again at the kiosk. Then I rolled my suitcase over to the counter and the attendant and I managed to get it onto the scale. The numbers kept going up. I held my breath. They stopped at exactly 50. merm’s scale had weighed it at less than what it was. I was okay but barely. I’m going to HAVE to learn to travel light.

My flights were uneventful. I sat next to an 80+ year old man from Seattle to Atlanta and we had some conversation but not much. I had to break down and go to the bathroom while airborne. I hate to do that but I added to the store of blue ice.

The flight from Atlanta to Chattanooga must’ve had a tail wind. It landed early but DS1 and my DIL were there to meet me. They took me home and fed me homemade vegetable soup. It was my first real meal of the day and I had two bowls.

We watched an episode of “Sherlock” and then everyone went to bed.

DS1’s work schedule had him off on Tuesday so we were able to visit before I left. My DIL had gone to work and my granddaughter was involved in online classes. It was just a short side trip to DS2’s house where I left a little bag of chocolates on the doorknob since no one was home. I made sure the storm door was closed so no critters would be able to get it.

On my way home, I stopped at all the usual places before I went to pick Twinkle up. I’d called ahead and let them know I was coming. When they brought her out sealed up in the box, I prayed the a/c would work on the way home. It did. She was quite vocal but never hissed or screeched. She’d stick her nose out one of the holes but I didn’t touch it. There was really no way to know how she was going to react.

In the house, I took the tape off the box and she was out in a flash. She roamed around the house for, literally, hours. I let her be. At one point when I was taking a break, she jumped up on my lap. I petted her for a few minutes but I had to get up and finish unloading. She resumed her exploration. Never once did she hiss or scream at me. I was so thankful.

Sometimes she’ll plant her rear on my lap and stretch herself up over my chest. That’s what she’s doing here. I happened to have my phone handy and took this picture.

Twinkle on my chest

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were spent recuperating and visiting with my neighbor/relatives. Sabbath, church was at a state park down the mountain, across the valley and up on top of another mountain. I stayed at home. That night, I wrote the first installment of the last three weeks and now I’m caught up. We’ll see what the rest of THIS week brings another time.

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