Yesterday, we pulled off the surprise party for Sue’s Mom. First, our daughter surprised her at her door by showing up with our son for her birthday dinner at our house. She just “decided” to come home for the weekend. Then, they escorted her back to our home for her real surprise.

Finally in the kitchen, the surprise guests started coming out from the living room one couple at a time. It took just one couple coming into view for the tears to start. Needless to say, she was taken completely off guard by every single visitor. There were children, grandchildren, one great grandchild, and a long time friend helping in the celebration. Sue’s Mom was in tears early and often, and couldn’t believe that all of this was for her. Needless to say, she was very, very happy.

We got to spend some quality time with one of our nephews and his family for the first time in almost three years. That was a hectic trip to Georgia over Christmas that included an 18 hour, single day drive for my family (never again). We always get along with them and can pick up our conversations as if they never stopped. Their son is looking at Berklee College of Music in Boston, so they combined the visit here with one at Berklee the following day.

Since the surprise party didn’t start until 3 PM, we cooked breakfast for everyone that was in town. Sue made the bacon and biscuits in the oven, and I provided made to order eggs including some pretty good omelets for everyone. The party included multiple entrees to satisfy everyone, and each was able to be kept warm in a crock pot or warming tray. I finally got to put my rice cooker to good use. While it’s not practical for a normal dinner, it worked perfectly for a large quantity of rice that needed to be kept warm for hours. I had such high aspirations for that rice cooker when I bought it, but it was rarely used until this party.

So while the party went off without a hitch, we were simply exhausted when it was done. We finally got to sit around 10:30 PM and both of us simply collapsed. We had both been on our feet since early morning, running around all day. Today, Sue gets to drive our daughter and roommates back to college (7+ hours), and I get to rake and move leaves to the curb all day. With leaf pickup scheduled for tomorrow or Tuesday, it just needs to get done. At least Hurricane Sandy blew most of the leaves off from the trees, so this should be a once and done effort for the year. For now, I’m just drinking my coffee and content with the thoughts that my Mother-in-law is the happiest she has been in many, many years.

This weekend, we are celebrating Sue’s mom’s 90th birthday. We have two of her children coming in from out of state, as well as at least one nephew and his family coming up from North Carolina. Our niece may be coming from Virginia, but Hurricane Sandy may have ruined her husband’s plan to see his childhood friend run the ING New York Marathon this weekend.

The celebration of Connie’s 90 years makes me think about how many things she has lived through. Being 90 now puts her birthdate in 1922. From a bad perspective, she’s lived through the great depression, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, many floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, and, sadly, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On a positive note, she’s lived through 100% of commercial flight, the entire space program, and the addition of Alaska and Hawaii as states.

She also lived through a 50+ year marriage, the birth of four children, ten grandchildren, ten great grandchildren (so far), dozens of weddings and plenty of funerals. She has never lived outside of the eastern seaboard of the United States, but has traveled around the world, including camping on the beach in Mexico with Sue and I. To say she’s had a full life is quite the understatement.

She has also now moved for what we think will be the last time. We helped her relocate from Georgia back to Connecticut. She is enjoying life in her adult apartment, along with a full array of social activities. She’s in a very happy place now – and at 90, certainly deserves it!

Since we moved to Connecticut, it has seemingly been a non-stop roller coaster of work. Putting our feet up and relaxing has been done so rarely that it just seems to no longer be a part of our life. This weekend was no exception.

We both worked late on Friday, followed by the gym for me and late work for Sue, we came home and pretty much collapsed. We did make it to bed fairly early Friday but then went pretty much non-stop all of Saturday. I spent the afternoon raking the front yard so that I could mow the portion where I need to use the standard mower. I didn’t have time to actually mow that section because I was called away to move furniture.

Late in the afternoon, we met her Mom and Jake at the Arbors (her mom’s new residence), then took the newly purchased furniture up to her mom’s new place. We had to go in through the front door because it was dinnertime and you cannot bring furniture through the dining room during a meal time. So we manhandled the pieces in several trips up the main elevator, moved around the furniture and got it settled. We finally left around 6:15 so I could then mow the section of the lawn previously cleared, throw on our costumes, and head to a halloween party from a co-worker. Of course, we were late getting to the party and were both exhausted, but had a fun time nonetheless.

Sunday, Sue went to church to sing, attending a lengthy service followed by a choir meeting, and I worked around the house. When she got home, we both headed outside to attack the leaves in the rest of the yard and mow the section of the yard that hadn’t been mowed on Saturday. By the time we finished, it was nearly dark and we were pretty much exhausted again. Sue did take the time to cut my hair (long overdue) and we both got cleaned up for dinner. After a wonderful steak dinner, we finally got the chance to sit, but only long enough to collapse and drag our tired butts to bed.

The next two weekends are pretty much a repeat of this one, with the non-stop nature of life. This week and weekend will be spent getting the house ready for a boatload of guests. We’re hanging a bunch of items on the wall (both ours that have not been re-hung since painting and new items we got from Sue’s Mom), and generally cleaning the house in preparation for visitors. Then, we’re heading on Saturday to another Halloween party hosted by a co-worker. It’s almost an hour away, so we’re heading up early so we’re not nearly as late as we were this weekend.

In some aspects, I am looking forward to winter where the weather dictates that it’s too cold to work outside and that indoor projects aren’t a priority anymore. At least I can dream, right?