Oklahoma Road Trip – Day 1

This is me at 8:15 this morning as we pulled Clay’s truck out of the driveway. Too little coffee, too much fussing from the little guy, and too much coaxing of a cat into a travel carrier (it involved a broom, a can of Pounce, and the strength of two adults to drag Desi out from under our bed. Oh, and his travel carrier meant for a small dog, because he is Jaba the Hut huge.

This picture doesn’t do him justice.

After about four hours on I-40, we stopped in Asheville, NC for lunch. We decided to try a place in historic Biltmore Village, which is entirely within in the city limits of Asheville. As per Wikipedia, George W. Vanderbilt created the town as a ‘company town’ for the estate workers. As it is today, Biltmore Village is very charming and filled with quaint little restaurants and shops.

We found the perfect place for a family lunch – Village Wayside Bar and Grille. Since they advertised being pleasers of slightly dysfunctional people, we figured they wouldn’t do us wrong.

Weston loved being out of his car seat and flirted relentlessly with our waitress.

Everything on the menu looked fantastic! Clay settled on a cup of potato soup and the reuben, while I ordered the Veggie Delight (pictured) – hummus, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sprouts, cucumber, and avocado on whole wheat bread. Very delicious, even Clay agreed!

After lunch, we hoped back on I-40 and made our way through the Smokey Mountains. I stared straight ahead and managed not to get car sick. Woohoo!

We even saw the rest stop where Clay’s parents left him behind and didn’t realize the fact until they were 30 miles down the road. In their defense, Clay was 16 so he was just fine sitting at the picnic table eating a bag of chips from the vending machine, hoping his parents realized their error before dark. Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending. Clay didn’t end up on milk cartons or those pesky fliers received in the mail. About an hour after the abandonment, parents and son were reunited.

And now we’re in Nashville, TN for the night. We’re watching the Super Bowl in the living area while the little guy sleeps in the bedroom…thank goodness for hotel suites! We managed the score some free beer and veggies from the Manager’s Reception and while doing so, nearly avoided getting trampled by a tour bus group comprised of our elders. We quickly learned not to get between midwest retired folk and their free food and drinks. Luckily, no canes were swung and no hips were displaced.

Tomorrow is Memphis, TN and Little Rock, AR…until then, may the schwartz be with you.


50 Years Young

I am in Georgia for a little while before meeting up with Clay and continuing on to Oklahoma. The girl pictured above is my mom in her kindergarten best. Apparently she didn’t really care for finger paints or nap time as a young lady. My mom will be turning 50 soon. Like really soon. So what better way to celebrate than with a surprise party featuring family and neighbors?

This surprise party had been in the works for quite some time. With me in Oklahoma/North Carolina, Megan, Mike, and Mikey in Pennsylvania, Scott and Kelly in southern GA, and Julie at college, there was quite some coordination involved to ensure that all siblings and significant others were in attendance. My main responsibility was keeping mom out of the house while everyone arrived and set everything up. This proved to be an extremely difficult task. I dragged her out to lunch and shopping at Mall of Georgia while people flew in, drove in, and picked up supplies for the par-tay.

Everybody hid downstairs in the game room and yelled SURPRISE! as mom walked down the stairs. Megan, Mike, and Mikey stayed hidden until mom scanned everybody in the room, popping up at the last minute. And boy, was Mom certainly surprised to see everybody, including Megan, Mike, and Mikey. She claims she had an idea that something was up but she was not expecting to see all of her children in attendance. So we toasted to family, good health, and many more birthdays.

Scott was a fantastic bartender. Perhaps a little too fantastic.

And look who arrived later that night (after stopping to pick up more mixers and limes)! Clay was in North Carolina on Friday and yesterday doing military stuff so he rented a car, drove 5 hours to my parents house, spent last night, and left this morning to fly back to Oklahoma. It has been about a month since we had last seen each other last so it was wonderful spending 15 hours together.

Weston thoroughly enjoyed playing with the balloons.

And finally, we managed to get a decent (except for our little Mr. Cranky Pants) family shot before we all went our separate ways. The next time we will all be together again is at the wedding for Scott and Kelly in December so we wanted to be sure to document this little reunion of sorts. Happy 50th Birthday Mom!

I Swear I Didn’t Kill Anyone

Doesn’t it look lovely? I spent the weekend in Wilmington and upon my return, I decided to tackle the kitchen. I had a slight change of plans and now plan on leaving NC sooner than originally planned (wow, I just typed a lot of variations of the word plan) so it is important to clean out the refrigerator and pantry, seeing as how tomorrow is trash day. So that is why it looks like my kitchen threw up piles of food to throw away, donate, and keep for the next couple of days. Fun!

Even more fun? Having a trash bag break just before putting into the trash can. Seriously, this mess looked like I slaughtered an animal or at the very least, a very small person. I know the picture is underwhelming but trust me – it was bad. And you know, it isn’t exactly the most welcoming addition to the porch of a house that has been receiving a fair amount of showings and one that the owners are very anxious to sell. Just then, Weston decided to throw a tantrum more reminiscent of a two-year-old because I wouldn’t let him go ahead and play in the carnage. I quickly pushed both him and Lucy inside and went to work picking up shards of glass covered in red gunk and putting items in a new garbage bag. I even managed to cut my hand! After I was able to put the trash in the trash can (imagine that!), I went to the side of the house to grab the hose. Of course I couldn’t get the hose secured on the spigot (it was off due to the freezing conditions) and cursed as I attempted to insert object A around object B to no avail.

When I went into the garage to grab a bucket, I could no longer hear Weston’s screams and was pleased to hear him squealing happily by the front window. Good enough for me. After I filled the bucket with water, I preceded to dump it over the mixture of tomato sauce, jelly, and balsamic vinegar – noting how I really was acting like someone who just committed murder. After all, television always depicts the murderer cleaning up blood with a bucket and sponge, never with a hose or steam cleaner, which (at least to me) seems like a more viable solution.

So after I cleaned up the mess CSI perpetrator style, I discovered the reason why Weston was quiet (too quiet) in the house. Yup – him and Lucy were sharing a box of peanut butter flavored dog biscuits. I have no idea how many were consumed between the two of them. Oy. And that is why I am now drinking wine and continuing on about packing and such. I find that less things bother me this way.