Okay, here we go!
On December 29, at 1:00am, I flew to Houston. And I somehow, magically got upgraded to FIRST CLASS. I thought I wasn't even going to be able to board, but the ticketing agent finally gave back my boarding pass and whadya know - my new seat was 1B. Right on.
I arrived in Houston, was picked up by Dad, fed bacon by Mom and my other-mother Mary, then passed out for three hours while they did the last minute packing. Awoke, showered and prepared for the godparents and an early dinner.
I'm not as upset as I look. There were three different cameras going off. The moms were trying to blind us.
Went to bed early to prepare for the movers early the next morning, but fate had other ideas. I started on the couch, until mom got up to get on her heating pad (in the recliner in the living room). That woke me, but then I started hearing the freakin' grandfather clock gong every fifteen minutes (also in the living room). Shoot.Me. So I went and climbed in on mom's side of the bed (it's a big bed - dad was nowhere near me. Honest.) but dad snores loud enough to make the walls shiver, so after tolerating that for 30 minutes, I went to the quietest room I could think of. Mom and dad's walk in closet. I laid on the floor with a pillow, shut the door and wrapped mom's robe around me. I was asleep within minutes.
Until mom woke me by flinging open the door in a panic because no one could find me at 8am.
The semi-truck came, loaded everything that wasn't loaded in mom's car or dad's truck, and after five hours, drove away. During the load, however, Goober escaped from his kennel and the bathroom, so we were feverishly looking for him and determined not to leave until he came home.
Which he did, as soon as the truck took off. Big whew.
We shipped out at 3:00pm, each vehicle quipped with, among many other things, walkie talkies.
[Now would be a good time to go refill your coffee or pee. Go ahead. I'll wait.]
Around 6:00pm on Dec 29, we arrived in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Where we found a motel and curled up for the night while my other-mother Mary took off on her own and did a little gambling.
Up bright and early the next morning. Free breakfast in the dining room, and off we went!
Tuesday morning, we headed toward Birmingham, Alabama, stopping frequently to tinkle and eat. It was a no rush kind of drive. Except I had the pedal to the metal and cruised along smoothly at 75 the whole way. Mom offered to drive a few times, but I said no. She was now retired and deserved to be chauffeured like the old broad that she is. She knows I say this out of love.
Stopped outside of Birmingham and stayed at the Jameson Inn. Because it had a Starbucks beside it. Mom splurged and go me and Mary our own rooms. On our way back from dinner, I came across a stray kitty. He was crying and he was lovey and I couldn't bear to just leave him out in the parking lot.
Until the hives started.
Then he was on his own.
Up bright and early Wednesday morning (New Year's Eve!), breakfast at the Kettle (cheaper than sin!), cruise control set on 75. Oh, I kid. I don't use cruise control. I like the power.
Drive, drive, stop-n-pee, drive, stop-for-gas, drive, drive, Shoney's, drive, drive.....
Another Jameson Inn.
No stray kitties this time.
But there's a Starbucks!!
We have dinner, at which I sent all parents into a crying/laughing fit by making a scene in Ryan's Steakhouse by acting like a twelve year old because I really wanted ice cream for dessert, but they were all done and just sitting there waiting for me so I felt the pressure to get the hell out of there so I just got a couple of cookies and, by gawd, I let them know I was not happy about it. People stared. I was pleased.
Dropped the parents off at the hotel, cruised down to Liquor World (which was insanely packed), cruised across the street to the Liquor....Barn? to pick up a bottle of champagne. Korbel, but still.....It was New Year's Eve and it is unacceptable to not drink champagne, even if I was alone in my own hotel room, watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann , listening to the big party next door and talking (slurring) to my fiancé on the phone. Unacceptable.
I downed about half the bottle.
Up bright and early, breakfast at the free buffet downstairs, big ass latte from Starbucks and off we go!
[Mary and Mom, in their matching casino sweatshirts.]
[Note of funny – we passed through Jellico Tennessee. Jellico. Say it with a thick twang. Then suddenly become the PR rep of Jellico and talk about how people need to come to Jellico because they have the THE BEST jelly in the land in Jellico. Swear to gawd! Gotta do it with a twang, though. Trust me. My mother will laugh for a half an hour. Totally worth it.]
Okay. Home stretch.
We crossed into West Virginia and the walkie talkie beeped. It was Dad singing "Country Roads".
[From the Barbour Democrat, the local newspaper]
We arrived at Pisswilly Ranch at 4:00 on January 1, 2009. Happy New Year, indeed.
For the mud. Oh gawd. The mud!
I wish I had gotten a picture of the mud. You can see how angry it made the Scotsman. He punched the mud in the face. Bad mud!!
He's very good at punching things in the face.
We arrived to a new home that had no furniture, no water, no phone, no TV and no internet. Oh, and no cell phone reception unless you drive about two miles up to the top of the hill.
The next day (after a four day drive) I made the three hour trip to Pittsburgh to pick up my sweetie.
[This is the part you’re REALLY interested in, isn’t it?]
[Do you need another break first?]
Todd’s flight arrived around 5:00pm, so that put us back in Belington around 9:00pm, after stopping at my now favorite chain restaurant ever, Bob Evans (home cookin’ and dirt cheap. Love it!).
Now. The scene.
It’s dark. It’s quiet (as the house has no TV – just the radio is playing). Mom and Mary are at the kitchen table, playing cards, I believe, and Dad is asleep in the front room, on the floor, snoring like only he can.
Welcome home, honey.
Introductions were had, hugs were shared and dad was awakened. We all visited for a bit, then retired to our respective rooms and respective air mattresses.
During the five days that Todd was with us, we ate and shopped, and Todd got to impress the folks by putting up towel racks and medicine cabinets. Go, Todd, go. He and the parents got along fabulously, sharing raunchy songs and calling each other names. Yes, he fit in just fine.
We had hoped the truck with the furniture would arrive while he was still there, but it was delayed in Nashville, so the day it arrived was the day Todd had to leave.
And here’s the weather stories to end all weather stories, even bigger than Snowpocalypse 08.
Thursday’s Drive To The Airport.
We had some snow on the ground but nothing compared to what it had done overnight. Our plan was to leave at 7:00am (for Todd’s 12:40pm flight) but Mom came in at 6am and said we needed to get on the road right freakin’ now.
Oh, mom. How bad can it be? Don’t you remember Snowmaggedon 08? Please…
It was dark. It was pouring snow. Did you know that the roads twist and turn up there! And there are bridges. Lots and lots of bridges. My shoulders ached from tensing up. My hands hurt from gripping the steering wheel so hard. I did 40 mph in a 65 mph zone for an hour because I had no idea where the lane was. I told Todd a few times that if it was no better when we hit 79 (the major north/south freeway) we were turning around and he would just have to reschedule his flight. Dammit.
Luckily, once the sun came up, life improved considerably. I could see more than a foot in front of me and the snow let up a bit. It still made for a rough drive to Pittsburgh, but at least we weren’t in danger of sliding off the side of a mountain.
[Todd was gone, but his size 13 muddin' boots were still put to good use]
So, got Todd to the airport, turned right back around came home. And found the most interesting sight. A bulldozer, pulling a U-Haul truck up the hill to my folks’ place. The mud and ice were so bad, the U-Haul couldn’t make it up the hill. And if you remember correctly, the furniture was loaded into a semi-truck in Houston. Well, there was no way a semi was going to be able to get around the turns of the driveway, let alone, up the hill. So for a very large additional fee, the movers unloaded the furniture onto a U-Haul and brought that to the house. Believe it or not, it only took two trips.
There was quite the assembly line; truck to porch, porch to dining room, just inside the sliding door, dining room to correct room of the house. We were all so worried about the mud that would get tracked in, but there wasn’t a speck on the carpet. The inside team had their shoes off and the outside team dropped off items onto the moving pads that were sprawled out in the dining room. A very organized system.
And very tired men.
After the furniture was delivered, it was time to unpack and assemble. I spent Friday putting mom’s computer together and unpacking her desk. And here is a yet another example of where I get my organizational skills.
We also spent a good chunk of time on the kitchen. And Saturday was spent on getting the living room and front room/dad’s game room arranged. I spent all morning moving the end tables and pieces of the couch. Thanks goodness for a sectional that comes in sections. Much easier.
And Sunday, we were off to the airport so I could return to civilization and my family. The day started like any other travel day, then quickly turned into a drama flick with, as previously mentioned, me running through Newark airport, lungs on fire, backpack flopping around and me yelling “EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME!” while running on the moving sidewalk.
It’s truly amazing I didn’t fall on face.
I made it to the gate and ticket counter (while yelling “DID I MAKE IT?! DID I MAKE IT?!”) and a very nice gentleman unlocked the main door for me and ran with me down the jet way to another nice man who banged on the door of the airplane with me. My seat was in the third row from the back of the plane so everyone on board got to see me sweating, panting and wheezing as I worked my way as quickly as possible to my seat. Which was in the middle. Crap.
I don’t know if my lungs have fully bounced back yet.
I arrived in Seattle on time and my bag was the first one off the plane (probably because it was the last one loaded on the plane. And just how lucky am I that my bag actually made it on the plane? Wow). TBFE picked me up and off to the romantic and magical LaQuinta Inn and Suites in Tacoma we did head.
Yes, I’m serious.
I had a buyer’s seminar from 8 to 5 on Monday, and that’s really the only reason I came back from West Virginia when I did. And I knew that after flying alllllll day I would not be able to drag myself out of bed early enough to make it on time. So we had a nice little quiet welcome back evening in a hotel.
Also previously mentioned, the instructor of the seminar was dangerously close to making my head explode come 5pm so that made for a very long day, to say the least.
So yes, two weeks away from home, compounded with a stressful day of flying, compounded with a day long seminar, compounded with complete askewness (yes, it’s a word) in my home, well....Rae-rae had a teeny weenie little breakdown.
But all is good now!
I am back in the rhythm of things (I think), I’ve caught up on all of my blogs, I’ve gone through all of my mail, I’ve updated my Facebook status, I’ve returned my emails…..Yes, I think I’m all caught up.
And now, some random photos for you....
[How you hold your roof up]
[The dedicated smoker]
[Tired Daddy and Goober]