Thanks, Dannon Oikos yogurt!
Well, my conference lodging and meals were sponsored this year, and the sponsors don't have a web presence and aren't even listed in the phone book, and don't need any publicity from me at all. My aunt & uncle, who are some of the nicest people on earth, were my innkeepers.
Uncle Fred picked us up in Newark on Monday, and drove us back to his house (after stopping at the Bear Mountain zoo, where William made friends with a swan.). He and Aunt Marguerite spent the week in a friendly "favorite relative" competition with my parents. The pinnacle of this was a photo they emailed showing William eating not just one ice cream cone, but two at once!
They chauffeured, cooked, cleaned and did our laundry and watched William while I was at the conference. On Thursday night, they drove in with me for the Expo Hall portion, and took William to Aunt Andrea's apartment around the corner, then drove me home. On Friday and Saturday, Uncle Fred woke up at 5:00 a.m. each day to get ready and drive me to the train station.
He and Aunt Marguerite took great care of their grand-nephew, to the point that William burst into tears when they left the room, even while I was there. They kept him entertained by endlessly reading "My Truck Is Stuck", and took him on William-tailored adventures, including seeing planes at the local airport, throwing stones in the river, visiting several playgrounds, attending a birthday party complete with a clown, and seeing lots of trucks up close. And one visit to a police car whose driver gallantly turned on the flashing lights for William.
This year I didn't do much partying after the sessions, I could have, I'm sure my aunt & uncle would have come to get me at the train station at whatever hour I wanted, but I didn't really feel like it. I felt like going back home, to their house. And I am so happy that William had this week to love them even more and to feel at home with them, too!
I can never thank you enough, Aunt Marguerite and Uncle Fred! I would name a building after you, but that's been done before. ;) So here's a blog post dedicated just to you. Thank you a million times for this and the countless other nice things you've always done for me, my whole life! Love and miss you lots!