The next morning the Gardener went online (thank you Internet!) typed in our car and our car's symptoms and within seconds he had figured out what was wrong. The catalytic converter was plugged which was causing the rough running. The only fix for a plugged catalytic converter is replacement. The factory warranty on a catalytic converter is 80,000 miles. The bad news was that our car has 82,000 miles on it. Go freaking figure. The gardener hates to pay anyone for anything that he knows he can do himself so after deciding that we couldn't keep driving it this way and eliminating the possibility of changing the thing in my Mom's driveway, we decided to take it in to the nearest Chevy dealership and have it replaced. My mom sent us to Friendly Chevrolet in Fridley Minnesota (say that three times fast), only about 5 miles away. We haven't had much luck with our car or the dealerships around here so I didn't have much hope for the crew at Friendly. We didn't qualify for the factory warranty but they shocked us when they knocked off $500 from the repair costs and had us back on the road in under 2 hours for only $200. Thank you Friendly Chevrolet in Fridley Minnesota, you saved our vacation!
My mom watched the girls while we were at the dealership and somehow convinced them to ride with her the rest of the way to North Dakota which was absolutely fine with me and the Gardener. About half way to Grand Forks, ND the rain started again and actually continued to rain the whole weekend and into the next week. I had hoped to spend more time outside (taking pictures) but we had fun hanging at the hotel with family. Most of us stayed at the hotel so we enjoyed visiting with family and friends,
and of course swimming Even the Birthday girl went for a dip but only after the party as not to spoil a fresh hairdo
The party was great. Grandpa rocked the banjo and Sister Elaine accompanied him on the accordion for a few waltzes, but no one danced. The rest of the family presented Grandma Dee with Our 80 Favorite Things About Our Favorite 80 Year Old similar to the 90 Things we made for my Grandfather when he turned 90. My Aunt also did a silly little skit for Grandma that embarrassed the crap out of my Mom which in turn made her the favorite Aunt once again.
The rain slowed just long enough for us to get a few family photos outside.
That's me wearing the red
maternity dress and my brothers who were less than thrilled that I insisted we pose for a photo together. Suck it up boys!
Here's one of the whole gang
minus this little guy who was fast asleep in a chair for most of the party. I think at one point someone suggested waking him for the family photos but we all thought better and let him sleep.
After the party, the children went back to the hotel with all of the grandparents and the cousins went out to a favorite family hangout. We drank beer, played bar shuffleboard then had the grand idea of buying my Grandmother 80 scratch off lottery tickets.
She scratched, and scratched and Grandpa scratched and scratchedand looked From 80 $1 scratch off cards my grandmother banked $28, but an hour worth of fun scratching them all as we cheered her on.
The next morning my Grandma's brother and sister-in-law had us all over to their house for a very lovely brunch, and of course it rained the entire time After brunch we all went our separate ways and said goodbye until the next big family gathering.
Part 2 to come...