We had hoped to check in at the Fairfield Inn, get unpacked, hustle to pick up two granddaughters (Bella and Sophia) near Parkland, and then race back across the Puyallup Valley to Edgewood to pick up the third granddaughter, Laci, and take the kids to dinner before heading to Puyallup High School for As You Like It where a fourth granddaughter (Bailee) was performing. It didn't happen.
We made it to the hotel, but barely had time to check in. Demetrius from Rome, Georgia got our keys for us and even signed us up for the Marriott Rewards program. We made two more stops before we changed plans. We decided to slow down and attend the play on Saturday night instead of Friday evening. We chose Sparks Firehouse Deli for dinner, which is right across the street from Puyallup High School Sparks Stadium.
The kids all ordered personal pizzas, while Peg and I ordered BLTs with cheese. We also bought an appetizer, pesto flat bread sticks. Actually, the flat bread sticks turned out to be a pesto pizza. I would order that again. With a little Parmesan and hot pepper flakes, it was perfect for me. The kids had a piece each. Peg had one, while I had two . . . and we still took some home along with most of the personal pizzas. The girls aren't big eaters, but know what they like.
Chris Johnson, the owner of Sparks Firehouse Deli has been recognized as the Small Business Person of the Year - 2015 by the Milgard School of Business. We like the deli. The staff is friendly and helpful and there are all kinds of fireman objects and photos around to look at and admire. The deli being so near the high school and the fairgrounds does good business.
Peg ordered her BLT with tater tots, while I had potato salad. For me the potato salad was a little dry. I ate quite a few of Peg's tater tots, however.
The bacon was excellent on the sandwich, but the bread didn't work for us. It wasn't quite toasted. It just tasted dry, so mostly we pulled off the crust, and indeed large sections of the bread and just ate the bacon and cheese. I think it was overkill at $11.95. I would have liked more tomatoes. Three days later we had BLTs to go from Mrs Turner's on East Main for $6.99 including waffle fries. Un-toasted bread with good bacon, lettuce and tomatoes was great. Unadorned. Perfect.
The bacon was probably better at Sparks, but overall, I'd order out again at Mrs Turner's.
The weather was ever-changing for the five days we were in Puyallup. When we were at our son Del's place near Parkland, the wind was so loud we could barely hear. The next day thousands of Pierce County people were without power. On the weather radar, the configuration resembled a hurricane. Winds gusted up to 80 mph. Off and on the rain poured and then there were beautiful days. I think there was even a mini-mudslide on Schuster Parkway.
The Fairfield Inn has nice flowers and shrubs planted around the entrance and parking lot. Daffodils were blooming everywhere. Cherry trees and apple trees with pink and white petals, gave us glimpses of the spring yet to come.
On Saturday, we searched for Wanna Cupcake?. Bella and Sophia had tasted their cupcakes before, while that treat was still waiting for Laci, Peggy, and me. We bought one for each of us as well as an extra one (salted caramel) for our nephew Jacob who was staying the weekend with our son and daughter-in-law, Johanna.
My carrot cake cupcake was perhaps the best cupcake I've ever eaten. It was moist and very, very tasty. None of the girls had complaints. Peg loved her chocolate cupcake. The Wanna Cupcake? people, Jim & Karie Romano, also bake cakes. Peg and I volunteered to donate a dessert for the Tacoma Rotary #8 auction at the end of April, so I think we found the source for our donation.
In between running here and there and dining all over the place, the girls go swimming, while Peg and I read or exercise. Next to the pool at the Fairfield Inn is an exercise room, where we can watch over the girls and use the treadmills, or elliptical machines.
Before going to the play, we had dinner at Giorgio's Greek Restaurant. The kids have eaten out enough with us, so they know the routine. They know they can have a Shirley Temple and order extra cherries, or at Giorgio's they know the selections of Italian Sodas. I had the blackberry, while Peg had the Vanilla Bean and Pineapple. Next time I follow Peg's lead. Her soda was better.
Once again the kids all had personal pizzas, and took most of them home. Laci snapped a photo of her pizza "like Pappa does." Peg had dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), while I had spaghetti and meatballs. I took most of mine back to the hotel and ate it for dinner Sunday evening. Even cold it was excellent.
After dinner, it was time for Shakespeare. Granddaughter Bailee did an excellent job as Phoebe. We hurried back to the Fairfield. Del and Johanna wanted to pick up Bella. Bella is in the 7th grade and is their "junkyard" dog when our nephew stays at the Doman household. I think Bella was disappointed she had to go home, but I'm sure she took care of whatever issues arose with our young nephew.
For Sunday morning breakfast we headed south to 160th and Meridian to The Original Pancake House. We drove in the parking lot and saw a line of people waiting outside. Not good. Our kids always knew if we went inside a restaurant and there was a line, we weren't staying. We don't line up outside, either.
Three years ago a client suggested we try his daughter's restaurant on 176th. It always seemed so far away before, but since we were already at 160th, it was just minutes away. There were a couple of empty parking spaces outside. I think we timed it just right. People were just finishing breakfast and starting to leave. There was one open booth and one table that sat all four of us. We were soon ordering hot chocolate for the girls and much more food than we could eat. Sarah the waitress was wonderful to the two girls. Peg ordered bacon, toast and one egg. I ordered the Bigfoot Chicken Fried Steak. The gravy needed a little salt and pepper, but everything else was perfect and much more than we could eat.
Ricky J's is a sports bar and restaurant. They are about to start remodeling. Hopefully, they'll keep Sarah, who was as much an eyeful as she was an excellent waitress. The kids loved her.
After the photo we boxed up the leftovers. Laci had ordered the Mexican Scramble without the chorizo and jalapeņos. Her dad Patrick got most of it. It looked good. Sophia ordered the French Toast, but her dad, Del, only got two halves. I felt sorry for him, so I kicked in with most of my huge piece of chicken fried steak, hashbrowns with gravy and fried egg. I think Peg contributed some toast. Both fathers had more than enough pizza.
After the kids were all dropped off and hugs-a-round given, we went back to the Fairfield for naps.
Monday was busy. We returned home in Tacoma's Northend to wash a load of laundry and pick up a sport coat for me. We had lunch at the La Quinta for a meeting of the Transportation Club of Tacoma. The program was about oil and gasoline prices. Excellent speaker. Afterward we headed back to Puyallup. On Saturday night I had been stopped by the Puyallup Police Department a block shy of the Fairfield. One of my headlights was burnt out. Thank God it was daylight on Monday, if it had been dark the deluge we drove through would have been hard going. I dropped off our Buick LeSabre at Double A's Automotive. While Peg and I shared a slice of coconut pie and raspberry-peach pie at Mrs Turner's on E. Main the work was being done. We also ordered BLTs to go, which were our dinner that evening.
Aaron (Double A) replaced both headlights, "When one goes out, the other's about ready to burn out, also." I like this type of thinking. I had been given a warning earlier in the week for speeding and then a warning about the headlight . . . a third time might not have been a charm.
With the kids gone, Peg and I had a wonderful time just being together. One of the nice things about the Fairfield is that every morning they have the day's newspapers available: The News Tribune, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Peg and I are avid readers. We read and discuss, share thoughts, opinions, and laughs. Throughout Sunday and until we left for home on Wednesday we brain-stormed and enjoyed each other's company.
Tuesday evening we had a concert to attend in the evening. We chose Don's Drive-In, one of our favorite places to dine in Puyallup for dinner. It's only about half a mile from the Fairfield Inn and the prices are excellent. We always contribute to the "tip jar" which goes to local school activities. Peg and I each had a cup of split pea soup. Peg ordered the crunchy deep-fried zucchini, while I had a French dip. We shared a piece of lemon, sour cream pie.
After dinner we drove to Edgemont Junior High School for a concert. Grandson Riley was performing in the concert band. He plays euphonium. For the first time we sat on the right side of the audience. On the left side, we can never see Riley (the horns are a dense group). This time on the right, we got to see his left ear. He has a good ear for music. We've been to many concerts over the past few years at Edgemont. It started with granddaughter Bailee, who played the clarinet. When Riley moves on there might be a year or two lag until Laci plays (trumpet) in the band.
We love the band director, Mr Andy Burch (photo above with our granddaughter Bailee) who was recently named to the Class of 2016 Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) Hall of Fame. He does such a good job encouraging his students. We look forward to each concert. He loves the students and they respond well.
Winter never really came this year, but spring was already in Puyallup by mid-march. We always choose rooms at the Fairfield that face north towards the Puyallup Fairgrounds. We can look down at a tiny creek that flows alongside the road. Bare branches were beginning to bud. Beams of light reach the moss, the grass and the other plant life. Often the sun and the good times are blinding in Puyallup.