Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vacation Day 2 June 26

I woke up pretty early and got McKenzie and Carlie up, too. We had decided the night before that we wanted to get up early and take a walk around the neighborhood. Sitting in a car for 15 hours can make you want to run a marathon. There are maybe 4 or 5 houses on the dirt road between here and the main, paved road. They look like they were all built in the 60s or 70s maybe. Next door there are two enormous Great Danes and they are behind a wooden rail fence that is perhaps four or five feet high with only one rail in the middle to keep them in. Ummm. . . do they know that they could easily jump that fence?? They don’t much like having us for neighbors. There are trees everywhere, couldn’t tell you what kind, just that they aren’t pine trees, and a little creek that runs through the neighborhood. It only took us about 10 minutes to walk down to the main road and then walk back. Boy, my body isn’t used to walking on hills! I haven’t seen a hill in a year since we were in the Olympics!!

Everyone else was up by 8 and we got cleaned up and dressed and headed into town to visit the Walmart. We needed groceries for the week and I of course had to replace all of my toiletries. The Walmart that we found is only an exit away, so maybe four miles. It is very new and has the nicest produce dept that I have ever seen at a walmart. I stopped by the Pharmacy and they said they would call Dr. Singer to rewrite my Rx so I should be able to get it by next Tuesday (in time to take my next pill). So $190 later ($95 groceries, $95 in toiletries) we headed back to the cabin.

Claudia bought a new vacuum for the cabin while we were out and we spent two hours cleaning every bit of carpet that we could find. We also dusted and cobwebbed every inch of the cabin. There isn’t a regular cleaning service so things like that tend to get put off. Claudia emptied the dust hopper on the vacuum at least six times. Under one particular table that hasn’t been moved since 1995 (I’m just guessing since that is when the “new” carpet was put in) there were enough dust bunnies to fill the entire hopper. It was really gross but we were really glad we did it, because we just feel better having a cleaner cabin.

While we cleaned the girls explored the neighborhood further, found some trails to wander on and played on the tire swing in the back yard. All in all they did what kids should be doing in the summer. We headed into Waynesville about 1:00 to see the town and grab some lunch. Waynesville is very picturesque being set in the valley of the Smoky Mountains. The stores on Main street were built in the 1880s to 1910s, mostly brick. There are lots of flowers planted and even some artwork, some of which I got pictures of. I neglected to shoot any photos of the buildings. Oops. We ate at a place called Ceviches where I had a strawberry and goat cheese salad with the most amazing balsamic glaze. It was fabulous. Really.

After that we headed back to the cabin. The girls played some more. Claudia watched TV and I took a long nap. I woke up around 7, Claudia warmed up some take-and-bake pizzas from Walmart, and we all watched the movie “Bride Wars.” Pretty cute. Kenzie was feeling a little off and it turned out that she was running a fever. 100.4 which went up to 101.4 until coming back down to 100 again. We didn’t head for bed until midnight or so and the girls were whispering on and off until nearly one.

Vacation Day 1 June 25

I wish I could say that our drive from Florida to North Carolina was uneventful, but it was filled with delays and more drama than anyone could wish for. We started off about 7:30 a.m. from Port St. Lucie and things went pretty well for awhile. We were making good time through central Florida until we got slowed up by a sheriff’s deputy in Brevard County. He was going about 69 m.p.h. and everyone was loathe to pass him, so there was quite a bottleneck. Claudia and I inched past him going 70 m.p.h. So imagine my surprise when he pulled in behind me and flipped his lights on!!! I wasn’t speeding I swear! And I was following Claudia fairly closely, but I wasn’t tailgating. Well, guess what? My tabs had expired. Ugh. Seriously?? A phone call to Mike confirmed that he had not renewed the registration. Plus I couldn’t find an up-to-date insurance card and the registration in the glove box was the old one from the Dodge Caravan (yes, the one we got rid of in 2006!!) Shit, shit and double shit. Needless to say I got a ticket and we decided I’d better renew my tabs before heading out of state. Thank goodness there was an office about 20 miles down I-95 not too far off the road. Mike owes me $80.10. Yeah, it all comes out of the same pot, but it’s the principal of the matter! While in Daytona we stopped at Subway and filled up with gas at Sam’s Club ($2.54/gallon) and away we went!

Traffic was brisk but moving pretty steady as we headed north into Georgia until a few miles south of Brunswick where we got stopped, literally stopped because of road work. Ugh. It took about 40 minutes to drive a mile and a half. And we were off again. This was where Claudia noticed that I had a headlight out. Oh crap. Just what I needed, another reason to get stopped by a cop!! We took a potty break and headed into South Carolina. The roads weren’t as bad as I remember and we moved along pretty well except for a few miles of crawling along by a minor accident. Central SC was really pretty and started to get hilly just before Columbia. We used Claudia’s GPS to find an auto parts store in Spartaburg so that I could buy a headlight and get it replaced before it got dark. Thanks to Romey at AutoZone for helping me out! The manager there said that they couldn’t do it for me if it required dismantling anything, but I really appreciate the fact that this guy went above and beyond to help this worn out smelly woman 600 miles from home. While stopped I reached into the back to get my anti-perspirant and guess what? Yep. Left my bag at home. So no anti-perspirant, no shampoo, no make-up, no tampons, no Rxs!!!! Oh my God. I’m cursed. We ate at a Taco Bell and then headed into the mountains and North Carolina.

I can’t begin to tell you how long the trip was. My back was absolutely killing me from about Vero Beach on. It was impossible to get comfy. But at least the discomfort kept me from getting sleepy! We pulled into Asheville, NC around 9:30 and headed toward Waynesville. More traffic tie-ups. More road construction. But now it was dark and the road was hilly and windy. Not fun. The cabin is actually in Balsam and we got there just after 10.

The cabin was kind of cute in a unique way. It’s been shut up for a few weeks so the air was rather stale and musty, to be expected. What I didn’t expect was the unique d├ęcor. You know all those bowls of potpourri and the wall art made from dried flowers and all the country cutie crap from the early 80s? Sometimes you see it at goodwill now and then but overall you don’t see it in people’s homes anymore. Well, now I know where it all went to die. A little cabin in Balsam, NC! There is not a square inch in this place that isn’t covered with a doily, wicker basket or dried flower. It’s a sneezefest!!!

Well, I’m off to what will hopefully be a comfy bed. Claudia and I took the bedrooms; Kacey and Becca are sharing a sofabed and McKenzie and Carlie are laid out on air mattresses in the dining room. I’m looking forward to a good night’s rest and a brisk walk in the woods in the morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Anniversary/Father's Day

Last Thursday Mike and I celebrated our fourteenth anniversary. Yeah for us!! The girls were farmed out to a friend's house and Mike and I spent a nice evening together, with no kids! We went to a restaurant called "The Ashley" in Stuart. We've been for lunch with the kids before and the food was wonderful. This time Mike and I shared a salad (green apples, pecans, bleu cheese, honey-apple cider vinaigrette). He ordered the herbed pork tenderloin and I had a filet mignon with a cheese and crab sauce that was divine. YUM!

For Father's Day we drove down south to Hollywood (dropping Sophie off for a play date in Jupiter Farms). I had found a good deal on a room near the beach so we thought we would go down for a weekend of sun and sand. Unfortunately it was a little too sunny! Imagine that. . . in south Florida. . . in the summer? It was in the high 90s, way too hot to sit on the beach without shade. Probably too hot to sit on the beach WITH shade! We walked on the beach for approximately 10 minutes. The water was super warm and the sand was burning hot. so back to the hotel for us! Thankfully the hotel had a very very nice pool, so we spent the evening in the pool and well as Sunday morning.

Sunday afternoon we drove up to Sawgrass Mills, the most enormous mall I have ever been to. It's crazy big and truly overwhelming. There are over 400 stores. But more than that there were thousands of people there, hoping to escape the heat I guess. The majority were from other countries with dozens of different languages being spoken. That part was really cool. The walk from the car into the mall was about all the sun I could take and yes, even that much left me pink on my chest and shoulders!

From the mall, we picked up Sophie and headed home.

The last three days the girls and I have been busy getting ready for our big summer road trip. Most of the plans have been firmed up, reservations made, emails sent.

We are starting out in the Great Smoky Mts. staying in a cabin in Balsam, North Carolina with some friends whose family owns the cabin. Next week we will be heading to Williamburg VA where the girls and I will stay for a week seeing the sights! Then on the DC for a few days, over to Maryland to see Grandma Jo and then home again, home again, jiggety jig. Whew. It's quite a trip and has been a lot of work to plan, but we are so excited to get to see new parts of our wonderful country!

I may or may not have internet access over the next three weeks, but I will have my laptop, so I will try to update the blog if possible.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last Day of School!!!!

Our much-awaited summer has finally begun! Well, kind of. I have two more teacher work days, but the kids are done for the year. On to sixth and fourth grade. Oh my!

Both girls came home with straight As again. Mike and I are so proud of how hard they both have worked and how much they have accomplished this year. They both have done an amazing job and came home with some impressive test scores. We couldn't be more proud!

We should be sticking around PSL for a couple weeks, catching up on chores and errands and playing with all of our friends. Then we are off to North Carolina to spend a week in the woods and then on to DC to see the sights. Mike will be joining us in DC after a conference in New Hampshire.

But for now, we are happy to put our feet up and relax for a bit!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Growth spurt

So for the five people out there who are reading my blog . . . thanks!!

McKenzie's pants have been fitting a bit snug, so I had her try on all her bottoms this morning. She now has two pairs of jeans and two pairs of shorts. That's it! In the past, the issue has always been that her jeans get too short before they get too tight; now the length is still fine, but she can barely zip them up!

At spring break she had outgrown all of her clothes so we had to go from size 0s and 14 slims to size 1s and now, in less than six weeks, she has outgrown almost all of those new clothes! Thank goodness there is only three days of school left. I should be able to get away with just buying her shorts and capris and not worry about jeans until she goes back to school in the fall. My little girl is not so little anymore. . .

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is Anybody Out There?

Is anybody still reading my blog?

When I started this I thought it would be a nice way to keep people near and far abreast of what is going on in our lives. However, the lack of feedback leaves me wondering if anybody ever reads this! Maybe you folks are just shy and don't like to leave comments?

I think it hurt my feelings a little bit to post Rebecca's wonderful Young Author's project and not have a single person respond.

So here's the challenge. . . if you are reading this, leave a comment and let me know what your plans are for the summer. What are you most looking forward to? That way, I'll get some idea about whether to take the time to continue blogging and I'll know what everybody is up to this summer!