Thursday --- our last full day in New Jersey --- started out slow as we woke eventually after an exhausting couple of days. My mother was up, late for her but still painfully early we'd say, and my sister was awake, helping with the preparing of cupcakes. My mother hoped that bunny_hugger would participate in this, making my wife a bit anxious. I understand this --- my mother tends toward the Grand Matriarch in personality and tone, even when she doesn't mean it --- although I'm certain that all my mother really wanted was for bunny_hugger to feel included in stuff the family does.
My mother did need some help in the kitchen because she'd had the surgery on her arm, and while it went better than expected apparently, she had been on painkilling drugs mighty enough that she was prone to nodding off and, of course, she was short the use of one arm. My father could do some of these things, although at the risk of family tension as he'd need to be told pretty loudly (he's building up an immunity to his hearing aid again) and he doesn't like being yelled at, and at some risk of spoiling the surprise. bunny_hugger was able to help with the cupcake-glazing, which I think is all my mother intended, but I could be reading her plans wrong.
All five of us managed to pack into my parents' Toyota Something to drive up to my elder niece's and her parents' house. Possibly we should have taken two cars, as there was a lot to haul up and even a Something is a bit of a squeeze for five people at once. bunny_hugger and my sister, and to a lesser extent I, got into a conversation about amusement parks and roller coasters and the surprising discovery that the 4th of July is apparently a good day to go to Great Adventure; my father occasionally put in that there were roller coasters at Great Adventure, and my mother occasionally drifted off into a painkiller-assisted sleep which is why she wasn't driving.
When we got up to my sister-in-law's place, my niece forbade my father from entering the living room while she worked on something. She worked on this quite a while because she's a five-year-old figuring out how to work on things, and she needed a couple rounds of ``are you done yet?'' before she was done and my father got free range of the house. Anyway, my father didn't suspect a thing, even when my other brother, his girlfriend, and their daughter finally arrived.
Trivia: In 1919 the Paramount Chief of Basutoland [ which would become Lesotho ] petitioned the colonial administrators for permission to visit the Vatican as well as Buckingham Palace during a journey through Europe. The high commissioner refused permission, fearing that he ``might be unduly impressed by the pomp and state of reception at the Vatican and might form conclusion that Pope was more important than the King''. Source: The Invention Of Tradition, Editors Eric Hobsbawm, Terence Ranger.
Currently Reading: The World That Never Was: A True Story Of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents, Alex Butterworth.