Monday, August 06, 2007

App. Trail, Denver, and the Poconos, Oh My!

Ok, so I haven't blogged in like a week. I might have mentioned that VNB was backpacking the Appalachian Trail (part of the MD portion) with some friends from church last weekend (Friday morning through Sunday afternoon). Then Monday at noon, AJ and I left for the airport to fly to Denver for a business trip. We got back Thursday evening. Then we left Friday morning for VNB's Father's Day weekend extravaganza in the Poconos and got back around noon today. It's been exciting, let me tell you! And very tiring. And dirty and cold there at the end.

So the weekend that VNB was away wasn't that exciting for AJ and me, really. I got the house mostly clean (it needed it), while still successfully getting ready for our trip, going grocery shopping, making it to church almost on time, and managing to sleep a little too. I was doing ok until VNB called to say that they were done. Then it was like something inside me snapped and I couldn't take it any longer. By the time he got home, I was pretty wiped. So he took AJ for a few minutes while I laid down, then I got back to packing.

Monday morning, 9 AM. I get a call from a friend asking if I wanted to ride to the funeral with her. Now, I knew that this very dear friend of the family had died, but the last I'd heard (including at church on Sunday), they were going to have a small family-only service right away, then have a big memorial in a couple of weeks when his daughter got back from Nigeria (she was leaving with a team from the church on Monday). Anyway, I was a "little" surprised by this new info, so I called the church to make sure that it was a public funeral. Then, I did something which has to have beaten some record somewhere. I got together the last of the things for our trip (we were planning on leaving the house for the airport at noon), emailed my boss, found (clean!) clothes that were appropriate (at least mostly) for a funeral which weren't already packed in my suitcase, got AJ dressed and ready, and we were in the car driving away (only having forgotten two relatively unimportant things) at 9:40.

We made it to the church just in time for the funeral to begin (it started at 10), then even had time to go to the graveside service too before needing to rush off to the airport. Unfortunately, AJ had a diaper which was in desperate need of changing after the funeral, so we had to traverse from one end of the church to the other. Now, it's not a big building, but _EVERYONE_ we passed wanted to chat and see the baby and coo over how adorable he is and how big he's gotten...and by the time we made it to the bathroom with the changing station and back again, the procession had left for the cemetery. And I had no idea where the cemetery was - but since I was planning on going, other than waving, I hadn't given the family my condolences and I'd told a couple of them that I'd be there, so we really needed to show up. So I called one of the pastors and made a bee line up 95 (what do you mean that isn't the speed limit?) until I caught up.

We made it to the graveside service with just enough time to give our condolences to each of the family members before it started, then we left for the airport the moment it was over.

We got to the airport with only minimal delays and made it, exhausted (well, I was anyway), to our traditional 'very last gate in the terminal.' We had a pleasant flight (AJ was great), landed, met up with a co-worker, and headed to the hotel. After a quick trip to the grocery store for diapers, wipes, and baby food, we turned in for the night.

The next day, we successfully found the baby sitter's house and made it back to the meeting site in time (barely, but we made it). After a long day of meetings, I got to go pick AJ up from his first full day away from the care of someone related to him. He had a great time, and I was mostly able to concentrate. The hardest thing was making time to go pump. After dinner with the team, we turned in.

On Wednesday we repeated the trip to the sitter's and breezed through our meetings. After picking up AJ, letting him nap, and letting everyone get changed from the day, the team went out to Denver's Dave and Buster's for the absolute worst service I have ever received in my entire life. It was an hour between the time that we entered the restaurant and we received our drinks (and only about 5 minutes of that was waiting for a table). And that was only the non-alcoholic drinks. The adult beverages consumed by the non-nursing mothers took even longer. And the food took even longer than that. The manager didn't even seem to care that much. But we finally escaped from the restaurant and managed a couple of races before AJ and I had to head back to the hotel, well past his "night night" time.

Thursday was just a travel day. That went pretty well. AJ was great on the plane again, despite the length of the flight. We got home in time to pick up dinner and spend a little time with VNB before AJ's bed time.

The next morning we got up, repacked, and headed to the Poconos (with only one false start to come back and refill the cat's food dispenser). What should have been a 3.5-hr trip took a little over 5 with construction delays. But we got there, set up camp, and went to the closest fast food for dinner. Right as we were getting back in the car, the rain started. By the time we were back at the campground, it was a deluge. By the time we were back at our loop (but not quite back to our campsite), the hail started. We waited that out under the trees by the bath house, then returned to our campsite to view the damage. It was surprisingly minimal, so we ate, unpacked some more, and went to bed. AJ made it on his little mat by himself until about 1:30, then came to bed with us.

Saturday morning we planned on hiking...after spending about two hours looking for a trailhead that should have been (and actually was, we discovered later) very close to our campsite, we gave up and went someplace else to hike. On the way back, AJ had his first swim in the park's lake. Despite the chattering "teeth," he had a great time! He even got his face wet a couple of times, although the top of his head never quite got wet. By the time we got back from that, we were all pooped, so the afternoon's hike got cancelled in favor of snoozing. After a couple of expensive trips to the camp store, we had chairs, firewood, and hot dogs for dinner (among other things).

The hot dogs were gross, but AJ went to bed relatively easily and VNB and I had some quiet time by the camp fire before going to sleep ourselves. AJ only made it by himself until about midnight. That was when the temperature really started dropping. They tell us it only got to about 65, but I don't believe them. At some point, the always warm VNB got up and improvised another blanket for us from the beach blanket. Despite all the clothes we could quickly find and put on, we were freezing all night.

But the next day was RACE DAY! VNB's actual present was tickets for the tree of us to the NASCAR race at the Poconos Speedway. We'd been warned that we might not actually get the seats listed on our tickets, so we went early. WAY TOO early. We got to our seats about 4 hours before the race actually started. We each took turns taking the baby out of the sun and eventually the pre-race stuff started, followed by the race itself. By then, we were surrounded by all of the chain smokers in eastern PA. They would coo at the baby while puffing away, and no amount of polite coughing and wafting away of smoke from the baby's face seemed to give the hint that maybe we'd prefer our child to avoid lung cancer for a few years yet. So about halfway through the race, VNB decided that it was time to go.

We found out that there was a 'no smoking/no drinking; section, but it was much lower down than our seats had been and much closer to one of the turns, both of which would have meant even more noise. So we left and went for a nice dinner instead. Except for a touch on VNB's face, we all managed to escape the worst of the sunburn, and apparently missed a rather boring race. The guy that had been in first pretty much since the start of the race (one of the Busch brothers) ended up winning, with no other controversy that we heard of.

So after another stop at the camp store for a blanket, we headed back to camp. Once AJ went to bed (with a thick, long-sleeved onesie underneath his PJs, extra padding under him, and extra blankets ready to go) and we got the fire really going, the rain started thinking about really starting. We got everything we could packed up, put out the fire, got AJ re-settled, and prepared for the coming cold. The cold never really came. AJ joined us around 1:30, but probably because he was hot, not because he was cold. It rained pretty much all night. I kept expecting it to stop and the cold to start, but that never really happened. It was just blazing hot and humid until it was time to get up in the morning.

But we did get up, finished packing, and headed home. AJ screamed for the first half-hour or so, but then settled down for a LONG nap. He didn't wake up until we were about five minutes from home (thank goodness!). I even remembered to call in for my meeting...only 30 minutes late. :)

But we're home now...and AJ was GLAD to see his old toys and be back in familiar settings, and I'll be glad to get back to a normal schedule in a two-parent household!

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