Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 1 - On the Road

The first day of our vacation began as a vacation usually begins: traveling. But prior to actually getting on the road, there were several last-minute things that had to be accomplished. One of the things I wanted to do before leaving was get a haircut. This did not happen. I had gotten up early and drove over to the barber shop, only to find that it was closed so that the owner could take care of some personal business. Since I really didn't have time to wait for him to come back, and I really didn't want to drive around town trying to get in somewhere else, I decided that was a commodity that could wait. Who cares about hair anyway? Well, I guess most people do. At least my problem at this point is too much instead of not enough.

The second major thing we needed to accomplish was dropping off our indoor dog, Halo, at the kennel. My brother would be staying home, but with his work schedule, he wouldn't be home enough to make sure she was taken out enough, fed at a decent hour, etc. The outdoor dog, Skye, basically just needs to be fed and watered once a day, and obviously doesn't have to be let out several times a day; he was able to handle that. Since we board Halo only a couple miles from home, this errand took only minutes, and we were on to other things.

Once we got the car loaded and picked up some refreshments, we were ready to hit the road. We took my car, which was fresh from receiving a brand new $700 set of brakes. I have made four-hour drives so many times in the past, so this one would be a piece of cake as usual. Most of those I made straight through without stopping, though I knew with my passengers, this would not be possible. But, even allowing for a stop or two, the trip should take no more than four and a half hours.

The first third or so of the ride went well. It was sunny and warm, which normally in a non-air conditioned car would mean temperatures fast approaching that of hell, but with three windows down and cruising at a good 70 mph, it felt great. We ran into several spots of rain along the way, some of which was heavy, which caused some slow moving traffic for a while. The windows, however, stayed down, which felt quite refreshing. It was that kind of rain that fell straight down and stayed completely outside the car, even with the windows open; that's the kind of rain I like! There was the occasional mist of water every once in a while, but it felt great and it greatly cooled off the hot summer air.

We made pretty good time, and got to our destination (about an hour south of Atlanta) in four and a half hours. The two or three stops that we made didn't slow us down much at all, and it was great for once to arrive before it got dark! We got to my grandmother's house and were greeted warmly, of course. It was then time to play our family's favorite game: find the new furnishings in Grandma's house. None of us can visit without finding at least one thing that is different since our last visit, and most of the time, there are a fair few changes! But my grandmother has great taste in furniture and art, so it's always a change for the better (though I think most of us will admit that before the new additions, everything already looked great).

That first meal on vacation turned out to be beef short ribs, which we got to share with Grandma, Cheryl, and Scott, and it was delicious. Afterwards there was a lot of catching up and talking, and a little bit of TV watching as well. Personally, I was pretty tired and could barely keep my eyes open; plus I had developed what I'm guessing was a migraine headache, which was making it difficult to stay awake and alert. So, I headed to bed, and had probably one of the better night's sleep that I've had in a long time....but then I've noticed I always sleep better after taking some Tylenol. (On a side note, does anyone else have funny dreams when taking Tylenol before bed?)

So Day 1 was mostly a day for traveling and eating, plus some very important catching up. Day 2 would bring a bit more travel, a bit more eating, and some interesting history. Stay tuned for Day 2 - Fried Green Tomatoes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Family Vacation

Well, it's only taken me a week and a half, but it's time to blog about our vacation! I think I'll take a page out of Kathy's book and separate each experience into a separate post, in this case each individual day. There were seven days of vacation and family reunion, so look for seven new posts coming up!

Just to give a bit of background on the reunion itself: there were four generations of people all together, and it was great to have so much family all in one place. Here are the four generations:

1st: Marcel and Pat
2nd: Karen & Steve, Cheryl & Scott, Duane & Debbie, Dawn & Mark, Tim
3rd: Sean (me), Tracy & Robert, Amber, Kelly & Paul, Tarren & Pete, Jean Pierre
4th: Alex, Aaron, Micah, Lucas, Grace

While it was great to see all these people, there were several notable absences. My brother, Ryan, did not attend, and none of my aunt Cheryl's children were there. My cousin Duane and his family had prior engagements, and also did not attend. My mom's youngest sister, my aunt Colleen, went Home to be with the Lord several years ago; her children all live in California and did not attend. But we also had the blessing of having family visitors: John Gaughn and his grandson Austin joined us for a few days, so we had a bit of extended family present!

Look for my other vacation posts coming soon. I'm hoping to get those cranked out in the next week, so stay tuned!