Jim and I are out on the deck having a drink, chatting and cooking dinner on the grill....we talk to Joe one more time around 7:30 or so... the trip is under way. We remind him to drive safely and if he and Janet get tired to stop for the night - no sense of urgency about their arrival time on Saturday! Joe and I say our "love you" thing before we hang up. I go into the house to check once again on the toys I have bought for the kids that are still sitting on the pool table. One more time I tally up the sheets and towels in the linen closet trying to calculate how much laundry just for linens will need to be done in the next 7 days! (it's a woman thing~:)) I unpack and start to put in the spare refrigerator in the garage all of the juice boxes and snack type things that I'll need for 5 children for 7 days. I've already shopped and have probably gone overboard as usual. I've made a huge lasagna and also a huge breakfast casserole and they are in the freezer. I'm trying to do as much ahead of time as I can.
I touch base with DeeDee and my mother one more time to let them know that Joe is on the road. Their cars are already packed and they will hit the road early Saturday morning - DeeDee is towing her pop-up camper and is loaded with toys as well. My mother has all the arts and crafts essentials for her projects with the kids already in her car. They will be arriving mid-morning on Saturday just about the time we expect Joe, Janet and the kids. We are soooooo excited!! I call Joe's dad, Joe Hanlein, Sr.. He and his fiance, Wanda, and her daughter are planning to come on Sunday for a cookout and crabs. This will be the first time that anyone except me has met Janet and her kids. There is so much hope and sincere "gut" feelings that this time is it for Joe and Janet to have at last found the "right" one~:) We are even speculating whether or not they may decide to make this "Brady Bunch" of theirs and even half-dozen!!
What a joyous occasion we are all looking forward to.................
I finally poop out and go to bed, Jim stays up later as usual. At 1:30 a.m. I awake to Jim standing over me gently trying to wake me - instinctively I look at the digital clock on my dresser. I'm a little puzzled and then I remember just a few short years before when Hale Bop Comet was visible and Jim woke me up gently (so as not to alarm me) to come to look - it was in the early morning hours. I felt excited that maybe there was another comet in the night sky that he was going to show me. He took me by the hand and led me down the hall to the dining room. He had me sit and then he pulled a chair up to me, took my hand and looked me in the eye and said "there has been an accident in Tennessee. Laura and Jessica are in critical condition, Bayli is in serious condition". He then bowed his head and said "there have been fatalities"............ thus began my descent into the quagmire that threatened to suck the life out of me forever.