Monday, July 31
I wish I had some great stories about our day, but really, it was spent sitting in either the driver or passenger seat watching the flat, scrub brush fly by. We stopped regularly for Oliver and I to pee, and to fill up the car, so, while we're certainly tired, I don't feel as cramped as I should. Walking around is good.
Because we spent so much time in the car today, we have splurged on ourselves and are staying at a La Quinta -- somewhere that we knew would have a decent bathroom, and where we knew we'd get a good night's sleep. (Hence, also, the wireless internet access.)
Tomorrow, after sleeping in a bit, I hope, we should make it to Sierra Vista in about 4.5 hours. A short day!!
Day 3: Hilton Head Island, S.C.
There’s no internet access at this hotel, so I’m journaling this for whenever I am able to get on line again. A full day of driving brings us to this lovely little island resort, full of families, and golfers. Brian wanted to get some golf in on this trip, so we’ve made a detour to Hilton Head.
I love it when I can look back at the day and count how many states we’ve driven through. We started off in Virginia, and motored straight through North Carolina and into the southern tip of South Carolina. One thing that we’ve noticed that we are super impressed with is the cleanliness … no, straight up, niceness … of the rest areas along the 95 South. They’re air conditioned, complete with cov ered picnic areas, and complemented by refreshment stands and the like at every one. They make it not as scary to pee in a new state.
At any rate, we’re comfortably ensconced in a Days Inn, and await our day tomorrow.
Day 4: Crestview, Fla.
Today, we changed highways. Huzzah!! But first:
I got Brian to the golf course around 6:45 a.m., returned, and fell asleep in bed for another 2.5 hours. It was a treat, really, to not have to get up before 9:30 a.m. Ollie and I had a relaxing morning, and by 11:30 a.m., were checking out of the hotel to go and pick up Brian so we could start our driving day.
It was a short hop to get into Georgia, which is famous, not only for peaches, but for pecans, apparently. We finally sucumed into our Dairy Queen craving, and I have a beautiful spot on my white skirt in a delicate shade of pink. I love me a good strawberry Blizzard.
I stopped, illegally and frighteningly, to get a picture of the “Welcome to Florida” sign, only to find a small sign below that sign saying that there would be a better photo opportunity at the welcome center a mere one mile down the road.
I’ve got a total of seven bug bites along the lower portion of my legs. I think I got a majority of them walking Oliver through the brush last night, but I swear that half of them are thanks to the clean rest areas’ dog walking areas. I’ve got some calamine lotion in my bag, and have applied it, but I think the lotion may be a bit too old to be too effective. I’m still feeling a bit itchy.
We are officially driving west on the 10 now. I love it that we’ve changed highways. It was pretty anti-climactic, really, but it was a major step in our trip. You know, our directions were, “drive south to Jacksonville and then turn right.” We’ve made our right turn today, and can see the end of our journey.
Tonight, Oliver is an official guest at the Super 8 in Crestview, Fla. He cost us an extra $5 for the night, but just the fact that we don’t have to worry about his barking is well worth it. It’s nice to not have to sneak him in, or to worry about his barking.
Tomorrow, we hope to make it all the way to Houston. It’ll be a long day, that’s for sure.
Day 5: Houston, Texas
Well, we’ve made it to Houston, and in no short amount of time. We logged 9.5 hours in the car today, taking off from Crestview at 10 a.m., and making it to our destination at 7:30 p.m. Seriously, by the last hour, as I was driving, all I could see in my rearview mirror was Oliver and his excess energy. He couldn’t lay still anymore. Bless his heart.
Anyway, as for states we drove in today, let’s count Florida (duh), Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Alabama and Mississippi: beautiful rest areas. Louisiana didn’t have any, it should be noted. I got a picture of every “Welcome” sign except Texas’s, but the logic there, apparently, is that it’s okay, because I’ve already driven through Texas once before.
In a move that I am not sure I needed at all, we drove straight through New Orleans on the 10. I really just didn’t want to see the destruction. I’d seen it on the news, and that was, for some reason, good enough for me. Not so for Brian, who wanted to see it in person. I’m still not sure if I’m better off having seen it all, but alas, it did make a tremendous impression on me. I love New Orleans. I think, when I visited there at 17, I fell in love; and then on a trip at 21, my adoration was complete. I wasn’t interested in seeing the area so decimated. I knew it would be ugly, but I wasn’t prepared for how … broken … everything still was. Complete buildings with no windows, skeletons of themselves, really. Streets lined with FEMA trailers. Apartment buildings were closed down, and no work being done on them at all. We stopped at a gas station, only to find that the building was nothing but concrete walls. There was traffic on the highway, of course, but I never once saw a person walking along any of the streets we drove by. I have no idea when, or even if, a city can come back from such devastation.
Having left New Orleans, it was s straight shot through to Houston. I’ve got to tell you – it’s been a while since I’ve been so tired on a day’s trip. Tonight, we stay at Jon and Emily’s old apartment.
Day 6: Houston, (cont’d…)
There is salvation, and it is called a day out of the car. We spent the day playing around in Houston today, taking a much-needed break from the road. Tomorrow, of course, we’ll be paying the piper, but for now, it’s all good.
We had a yummy breakfast; checked out Jon’s dad’s dental practice; cruised through the Nordstrom (and sadly, left empty-handed); and lunched on some yummy hamburgers and a delicious strawberry shake.
Oliver did perfectly well in the apartment on his own for much of the day, and I think, also got some well-deserved time out of the backseat. Jon and Emily had a softball game this afternoon, so B and I chilled out at the apartment, where I took a two-hour nap, Brian played video games, and Ollie rested.
Tomorrow, we spend our first full day in one state. Crazy, huh? We’re looking at another nine-hour driving day, and will go from Houston to El Paso. I think we’ll make it to Sierra Vista, Ariz. on Tuesday.
Here’s hoping that I’ll have some internet access tomorrow night.
Wednesday, July 26
Okay. We took off from West Haven, Conn., kinda late this morning, as to not get stuck in the morning commute traffic going in to NYC. It worked, in that we weren't in commute traffic, but we were still stuck crawling through the Bronx, and spending an hour and 15 minutes crossing to the George Washington Bridge. From there, New Jersey and then into Pennsylvania.
The 95 South goes straight (-ish) through Philadelphia, a historic city that I had never before roamed through. We found our way to Independence Mall, decided "to hell with the $12" and parked in a nearby parking garage, and set out on foot for a quick, but educational, tour of the area. Of course, cruising around with the pup put us at a disadvantage, as we weren't able to tour Independence Hall proper because of him, but we did take a circuit around it, and I think I got some decent pictures of it. From there, we saw a statue of Commodore John Barry, who the Pennsylvanians are very proud of (he's also got a highway, if I remember right, and a rest area). Barry is the father of the Navy. After that, we walked several blocks to get Brian a cheesesteak at Jim's, and found our way back to the car. On the whole, it was a successful side trip.
Leaving Philadelphia was easy; we made our way through Baltimore with minimal traffic; and were able to circle Washington, D.C. with no problems. In all, we logged about 500 miles, and had to fill up the car twice with gas. Now, having showered and washed the road off me, all propped up in bed with my doggy sleeping next to me, I'm quite pleased with my day.
Random things we noticed: At the rest area in New Jersey, a driver has no choice but to get full service; the road crews seem to store all of D.C.'s snow salt in Maryland; Philadelphia is remarkably easy to get around; and sometimes the Days Inn is a better bargain than Super 8.
Tuesday, July 25
So what happened today, you may ask. Well, we policed our permitted spots with a vengeance, and had five spaces allotted to the moving truck when it arrived. They got there at about 9:50 a.m., just within the whole 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. time frame. As there were four guys doing the work, it was done faster, of course, and by 2:30 p.m., we had a cleaned-out apartment, filled-up car, and anxious mindset to get out of town. But then, with Boston being that kind of city, we had to change our tactics and travel out of the city via the Turnpike, and through Connecticut. Since I was so tired, and Brian was jonesing for some television, we decided to stop before hitting New York City, giving us the opportunity to rest up before attacking that city's traffic tomorrow!
p.s. This particular Super 8 is the recent recipient of a brand-new video camera surveillance system. Last week, there was a drug deal gone bad, a fight started, and a whole ruckus erupted. (Don't tell Mom this part, please.) At any rate, the cameras made it a bit harder to sneak Oliver in, but wrapped up in a towel, he passes for a baby well enough.
Sunday, July 23
So I had a particularly nice anniversary. There was a bouquet of lilies and a well-done love note waiting for me when I got home Friday, and we had dinner at Ruth's Chris for some yummy steaks that night. Point in favor for this Ruth's: steaks were just as delicious as any other Ruth's, and the cheesecake dessert was amazing. Point against it: our waiter kept referring to us as "Kids." "You kids need steak knives." "Are you kids done with the appetizers?" "How are you kids doing?" On the surface, it's not that big a deal, but, as Brian said, he was probably all of three years older than us; we were celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary; I'm pregnant with our baby; he can be called "Doctor" now; and we were not afraid to be spending the money to eat in this restaurant. Clearly, we were not the kids this guy thought we were. At any rate, we kept our rebuttals to ourselves, but on the receipt, I did note, "Thanks. From the 'Kids.'"
Yesterday, I got a lot more done than I thought I would, and spent most of my awake hours packing boxes and preparing for the movers on Tuesday.
Today, I had a lovely lunch with Sarah and Pamela downtown. I hate leaving friends, especially when they are across the country, but I know that I keep in really good contact with my friends, so I know that today will not be the last time that I see, speak to, or hug either of them. Besides, they tell me that they'll come out to visit.
Tomorrow, the last of the packing, and preparing for our big day on Tuesday. Whew. I can't believe that it's finally here. Can you? It seems like forever that I've been talking about this. And it's finally just a couple days away. Crazy!! Also tomorrow, Comcast is coming to retrieve the cable boxes and internet modem. So after that, I ... well, I guess I'll have to steal someone else's signal until we leave on Tuesday!!
Friday, July 21
Of course, I'm excited that we're heading off on a new adventure back in Arizona, but it gets so sad to leave a place that you've called home for three (ID) or four (Boston) years. I've got so much to do over the next few days that I'll have little opportunity to dwell on it, but I know that it'll hit me as we charge onto the highway Tuesday.
Today, also, is Brian's and my five-year wedding anniversary. We're hoping to get in to one of the nicer places in the area (wish us luck; Brian's just calling for reservations this morning). We've managed to hit the better/fancier restaurants for our anniversary since we moved out here, so I'm glad that we won't have to break tradition this year simply because we're moving. I really can't believe that it's been five years since the best weekend ever. Time certainly does fly!!
What else? Well, what else isn't going on? I packed more boxes last night; Brian took the car for a quick road-trip service yesterday; the last loads of laundry are done, so now we can pack for the trip; and all seems to be going along fine.
You may be wondering about the frequency of the blogging now that I won't have a desk or constant computer presence for a couple weeks. I'll try my best to keep you all updated as often as possible over the next couple days, and throughout the road trip. Who knows how much Internet access I'll get at the Super 8 and Comfort Inn, but let's hope that there may be some reliable Wi-Fi along the way. If not (fear not!), I'll still be journaling our day every day, and saving them for when I can post. You won't miss a single story, my friends!
Thursday, July 20
But check these out: super hero stamps. I spy Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Batman and The Green Lantern. Supergirl, quite frankly, is a waste of a good idea, as is Plasticman, but whatever, they didn't ask for my input. (I'd LOVE to see the Wonder Twins with a stamp; "Wonder Twin powers; Activate!") And Hawkman isn't half as cool as the guy with wings in the X-Men.
At any rate, I foresee a sheet or two of these in my future, and moments spent agonizing over whether this particular note is worthy of a Superman stamp, or if I should just stick it with an eggplant.
Tuesday, July 18
Buffy was one of the best shows ever. It's one of only two television series for which I own the entire show on DVD (guilty pleasure, Roswell, is the other). Since it's gone off the air, I've missed it terribly. That this series will continue her adventures is such a treat! I can't wait to get my first issue! Unfortunately, it isn't yet available for pre-order, but rest assured, the day it is, I'll be plunking down my dollars for it!
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Auntie Donna,
Happy Birthday to you!!
Here's a picture of Mom and Auntie Donna at Disneyland this year. Aren't they the cutest princesses ever? We had a great time on that trip. It's always a good thing when you get to go to one of your favorite places in the world with two of your favorite people in the world, don't you think?
Monday, July 17
So I'm a busy girl this week, what with catching up on box packing, finishing up here at the office, and getting in lunches with everyone over the next four days. Not to mention all the roadtrip preparations, car maintenance and all that. it suddenly occurred to me this morning that the movers will be arriving at my door in eight days, and that I still have quite a bit of work ahead of me, including the remnants of the kitchen, both bathrooms, and the last-minute stuff. It makes me want to hide for a while, but I simply don't have that kind of time!
The space shuttle Discovery landed safely this morning, which is a super good thing. I concern myself with that kind of thing way too much, but oh well, it's a passion. It was quite an amazing thing to watch, especially from the pilot's camera view, as it descended and made for landing. You know, the only time my Gramps and I took the day off to watch a space shuttle land at Edwards Air Force Base out in Cali, the weather ended up being so cloudy that it had to land in Florida, a mere 12 minutes later than expected in Cali. It was a great day, mainly because it was just Gramps and I, but it was a drag that I missed the landing. But you wait! Someday, even if I'm not sitting in the shuttle, I will be seeing one lift off in person!
- If you buy a house in France, one upwards of $1.8 million, it will probably "come with" a butler and a chef. All the homes around there have them, and it's a perk to buying in that particular area. I wonder if I can get a butler with my apartment in Scottsdale. That's what, another couple hundred dollars a month, right?
- The J.Crew pastel, madras, seersucker outfits, and navy blazers with crests, are designed specifically for this crowd. I've never seen so many men wear so much pastel. Highlights include: a blue/white seersucker suit; faded multi-colored striped pants; a pink shirt coupled with a light green tie; the above-mentioned navy blazer; and a wide assortment of bow ties. The women were working it, too. Witness: red butterfly clips holding up a beehive hairdo; strapless outfits that were constantly being tugged up (a pet peeve of mine); and feathers adorning the hair.
- Homeowners/neighbors are generous with their guest rooms. We were invited to stay in one of the guest rooms of one guest whose father owns a home "around the corner." It was a welcome relief to not have to spend any money to stay overnight, and the house was better than a lot of other places we would have had to pay real cash for. (Actually, I was quite overwhelmed by this place. Gorgeous!!)
- Country club management doesn't like it when three drunk guys decide to putt the 18th green with sand-trap rakes.
- It's acceptable to not offer a selection of entrees for dinner. In a twist I'd never heard of, we were given the menu for the evening, and that was what we were served. Only the vegetarian at our table was able to venture off the chef's agenda.
- Really, really old homes on the water have toilets that smell like the ocean.
- A never-ending bar makes for happy wedding guests. There was no shortage of alcohol at any event we attended. (Not that I profited from it, but Brian had a great time.)
- When planning a weekend wedding, have at least one venue that is air conditioned. Perhaps this is the whiner inside me, but the whole weekend was dependent on a decent breeze and the grace of a cool evening. Even the country club was stifling throughout dinner.
- Don't make guests wait through a two-hour cocktail period before breaking out the main course of food. Two hours, actually, is an understatement for Friday and Saturday nights. More than that, really, but less than three hours.
I apologize that I don't have any photos to post up here to accompany my list of observations. We still don't know how to download pics from the digital camera, and my phone wasn't a discreet device to run around and snap images with. It's all good though, I have faith in your imaginations.
Friday, July 14
Next week is my last at work. I'm getting quite sad about having to say goodbye to everyone here, but the knowledge that I'll still be working with them for the next few months is easing my way. I hate leaving a job. I've been so lucky in that at every one of my jobs, I've met and worked with really good, nice and thoughtful people. Hardly a prick in the bunch ... well, maybe one or two ... but that's all seen in hindsight. My friends hosted a surprise going away party/baby shower for me yesterday at lunch, and I was overwhelmed by their generosity of spirit. It was so lovely!!
Wednesday, July 12
My rebellion took on a different strategy last night, as I dove into the wonder that is the Mystic Tan -- you know, that spray-on tan concoction that is better than a tanning bed, but still messes with your skin to make it darker than it is naturally. Brian accompanied me, of course, as I walked to the salon on Newbury Street to try out this new technology. I had to watch an introductory video, then sign away any rights to sue the establishment should anything go horribly wrong, and then I was led into the Mystic room. The inhalers, booties and eyewear that was so promoted in the video are not recommended here -- closing your eyes, holding your breath and just sticking with the barrier cream is the way of it. So I stripped down, put the cream on my hands and between my fingers and on my elbows and heels so the color doesn't pool, and artfully wrapped the paper shower cap atop my head. I stepped into the little room, closed the door, positioned myself properly over the metal plate, then pushed the green button, signifying my preparedness to get sprayed. Even though they all told me that the initial spray would be startling, I was hardly ready for it. It did startle me, making me whoosh out my breath, and thus made me breathe in the tanning spray when gasping for fresh oxygen. Fourteen seconds later, the spray stopped, and I spun around, preparing for the other side to be sprayed. It's initial spray startled me again, and this time, I could actually taste the mist as I re-inhaled. Having finished the spraying, I stepped out of the booth, waited about 30 seconds, toweled off the excess, and then redressed.
I think Brian was expecting an immediate Mediterranean tan, but I knew that it would take a few hours for the spray to go into effect. And yes, a few hours later, there was a bit more color to my skin. This morning, as I type, I am distracted by the color that pooled and intensified along my thumbs and forefinger in spite of the barrier cream, and the still slight smell of fake tan, even though I showered last night after the required four-hour minimum wait time.
But don't take this as a negative review of the Mystic Tan. I'll be going back, for certain, because I am happy with the nice, even shade of tan all over me today. (It should last for a week, I was told.) Now, I just know what to expect, and above all, that the spray tastes awful, so once I push the green button, I should just go to my "happy place," where the spray is, instead, Evian being spritzed on me by a pool boy, as I lay on a chaise in Maui.
[Editor's note: The picture above has nothing to do with today's post. It is of Mongolian wrestlers preparing to compete in some festival. I just liked their outfits.]
Tuesday, July 11
How have I dropped the ball on this one? Well, we've got an event to attend on Friday night, and I have no idea what I'm going to wear. Maybe a skirt, or maybe pants. Who knows. I'll have to figure it out though, as we're going to have to leave for the party right from my work. Aside from that, Brian's decided that we should spend the night out there on Saturday, after the wedding, and I haven't been able to get us a room. Of course, this could be attributed to the fact that, well, it's summer in Rhode Island's hoity beach area, and I just started calling around for a room today. Everywhere has two- or three-night minimums, or they're just straight booked up. I'm at a bit of a loss, to tell you the truth.
It should be fun to see how this weekend ends up going down.
Monday, July 10
And the movie, up front, met all our expectations. We giggled throughout, and enjoyed the campy humor and fun swashbuckling that was the essence of the film. My gripe? More than two hours, and no real climax to the movie. It was such an "and here's where the third one will start" ending that it left us both cold. Kind of "ridden hard and put away wet," if you know what I mean. No climax, my friends. Surely, it makes one more anxious for the third movie, simply because now we're DYING to find out what happens next, but I think we deserved better. So many major, huge, gaping loose ends are unfair, really. Maybe, had even one of them been tied up, I'd be a happier Pirates camper today. Argh.
Friday, July 7
I, for one, can not wait to see this movie. I'm hoping that Brian and I can catch it tomorrow, but if not, definitely on Sunday. There is no way that I'm going through my weekend without having seen this movie! Yay Jack!
Thursday, July 6
While we won't be sleeping in a tent or cooking beans over an open fire, we will be roughing it by stopping at a series of Super 8 Motels (Ollie's good at sneaking in), feasting on Cracker Barrel take-out (chicken pot pie, anyone? Mom?), taking pictures of random stuff that interests us (barns, Jack in the Box, up-ended cars in a field), playing those games that only amuse when there's nothing to see but pavement and flat land (states and capitols? television show theme songs?), and listening to radio stations that feature agricultural updates and promote the American Idol winners and contestants (today, hog futures are rising, and here's the latest from Clay Aiken!). Ah yes, the beauty of the days-long road trip! I can't wait!!
But back to things going on down here on Earth:
1.) Two state courts, in New York and Georgia, have allowed a gay marriage ban. Not cool.
2.) The Emmy nominations were announced this morning, and once again, voters in that joke of an election pool have failed to show any real departure from the same-old, same-old. From the list of no imagination, nominations include: The West Wing, Two and a Half Men, Martin Sheen, William Shatner, Charlie Sheen, Lisa Kudrow, Allison Janney, Debra Messing, Stockard Channing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally. As for pleasant surprises: 24, Arrested Development, Scrubs, The Office, The Colbert Report, Jean Smart, Steve Carrell, Jeremy Piven, and Jaime Pressly. I'd love to say that, as a show of protest for the nominators' lack of creativity, I won't watch the show, but ... well ... we all know me better than that.
3.) Auto news for the day includes the revelation that hand-cranked windows are on their way out of production, with Honda becoming the first car manufacturer to abolish them entirely. Soon will come the day when the youth of America ask us, "You mean you used to have to open these with a handle?"
Wednesday, July 5
You've been so patient with me, and my taking so very long between posts over the holiday weekend. It's just, well, really, I felt like taking a holiday from the blog too, and I hope you all can appreciate that. It's a difficult thing, coming up with all that righteous indignation, clever phrases and such on a daily basis!
So what's the what. Well, I watched a bit of a show on Discovery Channel, called Dirty Jobs. This guy, Mike Rowe, goes around the country and spends a day or two, or three, doing all the dirty jobs that are performed under society's collective radar. Jobs such as crawfish fishing, sewer cleaning, pig farming and coal-dust sweeping are among the occupations he took on in the couple shows that I saw. While the idea behind the show is great, and the host is terrific, I found myself hiding my eyes more than watching the episode, since he tended to put himself and my gag reflex in real danger.
Cars, while a cute movie, is not the best Pixar film ever made. I couldn't really tell which of them I would consider my favorite, but Monsters, Inc., and Toy Story are among the best in the genre. Still, for any of you that are considering seeing it, it is worth the money. So go, and do yourself a favor: stay well into the credits. You'll thank me for telling you.
We had dinner at a fancy French restaurant on the Cape Saturday night, a place called Chillingsworth, and used a gift certificate we got for Christmas. The meal, prix fixe of course, was seven courses. Two things stand out in my mind from the dinner: the soup was amazing, and the lemon sorbet with basil tasted like how Bactine smells. Brian's lone yummy course was his scallop appetizer. Idea: A+; restaurant: C, at best.
I got all kinds of packing done, and feel as though, yes, it can be July, because I see the light at the end of our tunnel.
Huh. Well, as it is quite late on this Wednesday evening, and I'm hungry for a brownie, I'll sign off, and wish you all a belated Happy Fourth of July!