Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2009: 1

  This is the first report of our winter travels for 2009. January 1 found us at Katie and Tom's home in Doylestown, PA. See "Happy Holidays 2008" to see what events preceded this stay. I awoke at 6:50 AM and headed downstairs to put on the monkey bread for brunch. I found that the outside temperature was 15 degrees. Everyone else slept-in for up to an hour more. We started organizing a New Year's Brunch including ham, home-made pineapple salsa (Tom's), pancakes, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, and monkey bread. Alex, Phil, and family arrived at about 11:45 AM. Most of us ate a lot more than we should have and enjoyed the event. After brunch, Rachel, Bridget, Erin, Phil, and Bill played a few hands of UNO. We also watched some football games. The Stoops left around 3:30 PM. We suffered through most of the Penn State game when Katie's water broke and she and Tom headed for Doylestown Hospital. Bill watched the Virginia Tech Orange Bowl game and traded emails with Tom.

  Katie called us at 6:18 AM on Friday to tell us that she gave birth to a 7 lb, 1 oz. boy at 5:04 AM. She sounded happy and excited. We told Rachel only that she had a new baby sibling and let Tom and Katie introduce her to her brother at the hospital at around 8:00 AM. We dropped Rachel at daycare a bit after 9:00 AM. We spent the rest of the morning communicating the birth to friends and family. At 12:30 PM, we arrived at the hospital and got introduced to our new grandson, Eric. We thought him beautiful, but Rachel pointed out later that he was handsome, whereas she is beautiful. Katie was doing well, so we just visited and watched some football on T.V. Around 4:30 PM, we went to get Rachel and bring her back to the hospital. A bit later, Alex, Phil, and three of Eric's new cousins arrived for a brief visit. All of us except Katie, Tom, and Eric, drove to Pizzeria UNO in Montgomeryville for dinner. The young girls all built their own pizzas.When we arrived back at Tom and Katie's house, Tom was there, getting a shower. He headed back to the hospital and we got Rachel ready for bed. We designed a New Year's card and ordered 100 of them on Snapfish. We followed to bed soon thereafter.

  We arose around 7:00 AM on Saturday. Rachel, Katie, and Bill ate breakfast and watched some T.V. Rachel got dressed in her "Big Sister" shirt for her afternoon party. We went shopping for presents for Katie and Eric. We ate lunch and then drove over to the hospital to visit Katie, Tom, and Eric. We enjoyed a nice visit until we had to leave for the "Princess" party, which started at 3:00 PM. Cathy stayed at the party; Bill found a nearby Starbucks and then drove back to Katie and Tom's house to get on the computer Bill returned to the party and picked up Cathy and Rachel at around 5:10 PM. After dinner, Rachel went to bed fairly early, because she had no nap during the day. We viewed "Death at a Funeral", a hilarious British comedy.

  On Sunday, Cathy and Bill arose about 7:00 AM, while Rachel slept until almost 8:00 AM. Cathy went to the store while Bill supervised Rachel in the making of a "Welcome Home" sign for Eric, Katie, and Tom. Bill headed over to the hospital and arrived at 11:00 AM. He carried some items out and then drove the Leitch's Trailblazer to the front door of the hospital for the trio's departure. Eric and company headed home and were greeted by Rachel at the front door with her sign. Everybody settled in and ate lunch. Cathy and Bill drove to Peace Valley and walked the 6.1 miles around the lake. They headed to Starbucks for a cappuccino after the walk. When they returned to the house, Rachel beat Bill in a hand of UNO. We watched the Eagles beat the Vikings during the late afternoon. Cathy made Cornflake coated chicken for dinner. We all settled in for an interesting night.

  At 12:30 AM on Monday, Rachel fell out of bed. Tom settled Rachel back down and then Eric awoke for feedings several times. Cathy lent Bill a couple of new earplugs, which helped. Bill arose before 7:00 AM. Cathy and Rachel got up soon thereafter. We three went to Rachel's daycare and then Cathy and Bill headed for Starbucks for coffee and NY Times. We went back to the house briefly and then headed to the lake for a 6.1 mile walk. We returned for lunch. We shopped at Giant and then we chilled out for the afternoon with Katie, Tom, and Eric. Cathy prepared baked ziti for dinner, while Bill had acorn squash and rice pilaf. After dinner, we watched the Fiesta Bowl.

  Tuesday morning, Cathy, Bill, and Rachel headed to Starbucks for breakfast and a newspaper. We dropped Rachel at daycare after breakfast. During late morning, Tom and Bill went to Moe's for lunch and then went to Best Buy where Bill upgraded his phone to an 8g 3G iPhone. Bill spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to get acquainted with his new communications tool. We had bean and tamale pie for dinner. We viewed some of "Pineapple Express" and found it to be a pretty lame movie.

  Wednesday was an icy and rainy day. We let Rachel sleep in a bit and then took her to daycare a bit later than usual. We shopped at Giant, also. We spent a good part of the morning looking at old photos from our 40th anniversary party. After lunch, Bill and Cathy went out for haircuts at Supercuts in North Wales. We also made several other shopping stops. We picked up Rachel at about 5:00 PM on the way back from shopping. Bill ate red beans and rice for dinner.

  Thursday was cold and windy. After lunch, Bill and Cathy went to Montgomery Mall for some walking. Bill bought a screen shield for his iPhone. We picked up Rachel on the way back. Tom made a great shrimp etoufee for dinner. Afterward, we watched the BCS championship game.

  Friday was Tom's birthday. We dropped Rachel at daycare. After lunch, Cathy and Bill took a cold walk at the lake. We picked up Thai food for dinner from the Spice Thai Cuisine restaurant in Doylestown. Tom had an ice cream cake after dinner. Later, after presents, Tom and Rachel played on the Wii and had a boxing match. After Rachel went to bed, we viewed "Millions" - hard to understand accents.

  Saturday began with snow, which intermittently fell all day. Tom, Rachel, and Bill walked over to Giant to buy a few items. They threw snowballs at each other on the way. Tom and Bill worked with Tom's dad for a couple of hours during lunch to try to fix an infestation by the "Virus Trigger" malware. We ended up asking him to download a specific malware remover on a different machine, save the program, and run it on his own computer. We had flank steak and acorn squash with risotto for dinner. We finished watching "Millions" and watched a great movie: "Eulogy" - highly recommended. We don't know how we missed this one.

  Sunday was cold and windy with a bit of snow and ice on lawns and roads. Bill spent a couple of hours doing a very challenging Sunday Times crossword puzzle. Cathy and Bill and Rachel played some hands of UNO. Tom and Rachel went out to lunch together, while the rest of us ate at home. Cathy and Bill did some shopping at Giant and then Bill drove to Peace Valley and had a great walk around the icy path using hiking poles (pics: 1,2,3,4,5). We had pasta for dinner. Later, the adults watched the two hour season premier of "24", which we all enjoyed.

  Monday was very cold and windy. Bill got up at 5:30 AM. After he did the Times crossword, he started working on the McArthur genealogy. Cathy and Bill dropped Rachel at daycare. After lunch, Bill and Katie took a short walk in the neighborhood. This was Katie's first venture out since giving birth. Cathy made an excellent lasagne for dinner. Bill and Katie picked up Rachel from daycare. Later in the evening, the adults watched another two hours of "24".

  Tuesday was cold and breezy. Bill did the Tuesday Times puzzle in under 10 minutes. Cathy and Bill dropped Rachel at daycare. Bill spent the morning researching genealogy. With Katie's encouragement, Cathy and Bill went to lunch at Panera Bread in Warrenton and went to Warrenton Crossing to see "Slumdog Millionaire", which we thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. We even enjoyed the credits at the end of the film. The movie won some Golden Globes and might win some Oscars. We stopped at Giant on the way back. Bill and Tom drove two cars to South Main Tire to get the Blazer inspected. Bill got slightly lost in spite of the GPS, but cell phone communication with Tom got him back on track. After dinner, Bill changed his display name on FaceBook and joined the Clan MacArthur group to help his genealogy quest.

  Wednesday was even colder at 15 degrees and windier. Cathy and Bill dropped Rachel at daycare. Bill knocked off an interesting Wednesday Times puzzle in a decent time. Bill joined for a month to make use of its resources and found that he was able to make some progress in pursuing the McArthurs, Housers, Monahans, and Healys in his background. Bill was also feeling a bit low physically and hoped he wasn't getting a cold. After dinner, Bill and Tom picked up the Blazer at South Main Tire. The adults watched the first two episodes of "Mad Men" on DVD from NetFlix. Bill judged that the show was right on the money with the dress and culture of the early 60s, but he lived during that period and doesn't have to relive it.

  Thursday continued the freezing cold weather. Cathy and Bill dropped Rachel at daycare. Bill continued working with genealogy. Bill also did an hour of work with his client Aqua Trails. We picked up Rachel early, at around 3:30 PM so that we could drive to Glen Mills for Alex and Phil's house. We stopped at Borders for a cappuccino on the way. We ate pizza for dinner and then headed over to the Garnet Valley school campus for a fourth grade orchestra concert with Erin playing the viola. Phil, Bridget, and Bill played with iPhones while waiting for the concert to start. The temperature was about 19 degrees when we walked out to the Stoops' minivan after the concert. We stopped at an ATM and a Starbucks inside of a Target on the way back to their house. By the time Cathy and Bill arrived back in Doylestown, the temperature was about 15 degrees.

  Friday morning started at 8 degrees. Bill had to do some work for King Nummy Trail Campground because their domain name had expired. It was still 9 degrees by the time we dropped Rachel at daycare. Cathy watched Eric while Katie and Bill went to lunch at Lily's in Doylestown. Afterward, Bill canceled our Sirius subscription and went to Best Buy to purchase a FM transmitter for the iPhone. Bill found a nice one with a bracket and scan function to find available FM frequencies. He listened to Pandora on the iPhone on the ride back to the house.

  Saturday was to end our stay in Doylestown. Everybody at the Leitch household was doing well. Eric was being a very calm baby who awoke at most twice during the night. Cathy awoke at 5:00 AM and told Bill that she was awake. Bill sprang to action. We left the house by 6:00 AM into the 3 degree air, which really woke us up. After scraping ice off of windows, we got underway. We drove all the way to Mullica Hill for breakfast at the diner there. We were gassing up at the Villas WaWa by 8:30 AM. We stopped at the drive-up window at our bank to cash a check and then headed for home. It was 15 degrees and blowing a bit when we got home. It was no warmer inside of the house as we dropped off winter clothing and picked up a couple of items. We saw that the Bay had a lot of ice on it and were not surprised. Cathy scurried to our neighbors Jim and Fran's house to stay warm. Jim Sosna joined Bill to help load the kayak on top of the XTerra. We lined up at the Cape May Lewes Ferry terminal about 10:30 AM. We took the 11:00 AM ferry and had an easy drive through the DelMarVa and over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Our GPS navigator did a good job of threading our way through the maze of Virginia Beach. We stopped at a Choice Hotel in Emporia, Virginia near I95. We ate at a Mexican restaurant and topped off the meal with fried ice cream.

        Bill and Cathy