Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dispatch 3 Family Vacation STILL By Molly

You figured that I would be writing this final vacation post from the comfort of my pink floral bed fighting the urge to chase those ding-a-ling cats around the dining room, but that is not the case because our vacation journey has not quite ended yet.  I’ll get to all that in a minute. First, let catch you up on our odyssey to date…
Pulled into Grandma’s on time Monday to overcast skies, which we’re told, has been the case pretty much the entire summer thus far.  Dad’s buddy Ted had Monday and Tuesday off, so he elected to jump into the city and spend the day with him and his lovely lady listening to records and enjoying the couples most excellent cooking.  Looks like he managed to find yet another vinyl record shop before returning to us gals back in Paramus New Jersey.  Dad sure seems to like these bagels thingies that he gets up in the morning and walks to some store to get.  He shared a few morsels with me and I can see what he’s saying.  Seems that I’m a pretty popular little hound in these parts.  This gigantic teenager Thomas took an instant liking to me and I was glad to share his company too.  Grandma was particularly found of sharing her special chair by the TV and sneak me treats. Don’t tell mom and dad…

On Thursday, we went up to West Point and Highland Falls to see Katie’s Fairy Godmother and her lovely daughters. First, dad took us through West Point to see how the housing construction project was going in his old neighborhood.  LOTS of family pets wandering around a bunch of torn down houses, a couple of completed rebuilds that really looked nice, but was surprised to see many families still living in the old quarters. West Point: The Never Ending Construction Project.
On our way through main post, I was told that an honor that had bestowed on only a few was to be mine.  I don’t remember all the details, but many years ago at Trophy Point, a brave and quite good looking young man, saved an Asian tourist from snapping a photo without the proper flash setting by gallantly getting himself stuck in an 18th century howitzer.  By creating the distraction, the tourist caught his mistake and also got a couple of shots of the brave hero in his posterior predicament.  So, I was blessed to be placed into the bore of that VERY same armament. What an honor indeed.  After some chatter and giggling about not having any flint and matches, we pressed on to pizza and Katie’s Fairy Godmothers.

It’s great to see Katie's FGM so happy.  Part of her new found happiness comes from her recent adoption of her dog Oliver. Oliver is quite the lively one.  We got along as handsomely as the humans did with each other with lots of crumbs to find and cats to chase.  Apparently, FGM has quite a bit going on these days.  She’s renovating her folks old house to move into while selling the one she’s in now.  Her stunningly beautiful daughters were able to join us too.  Always a good time I’m told, and I look forward to coming back soon.

Friday we said goodbye to New Jersey and got underway again for what we had thought would be our last stop on this journey, after a quick stop at one of the colleges dad attended (does everybody go to so many colleges?).  I got stuck in the car while everybody else went shopping and had lunch. What a gyp, but after being made to pose for a photo with a huge turtle, we were underway once more.

Dad’s cousin Buzz’s place was LOTS of fun.  Other than an old cat, there were no other pets, but lots of kids.  The humans seemed to enjoy hanging out on the screen deck drinking beverages while the kids ran amuck.  After they had returned from one of their outings, I overheard mom and dad say that they had visited their uncle and aunt who have retired to the area.  Apparently, these folks have a pretty nice place that they’ve been working on for a long time. I got to see this firsthand as we stopped by to see them, more of dad’s cousins, and their kids on our way out of town Sunday.  The three men seem to have spent the entire time discussing this thing called “ACC Football” whatever that means.  There was also a trip to Raleigh cemetery to visit the final resting place of dad’s Grandmother and MANY others in the Phillips/Busbee bloodline.  Apparently, we used to own this town.   The cemetery was closed, but that didn’t stop the men from jumping the fence and leaving our tribute to this fine and distinguished lady. A great family dinner out and walking tour of downtown followed.

As we waved our last goodbyes pulling out onto I40, our thoughts wandered to the home stretch of our trip back to our cats, family, friends, and the familiarity that home brings.   The trip was a resounding success beyond any and all expectations.

As we cruised towards Charlotte and hunkered down for another four hours of drive, we noticed that the air conditioner began to struggle and the dashboard lights flickering as the gauges wigged out. Fortunately, we were able to limp into a Firestone shop which was open on Sunday.  Dad worked with the attendants to replace the battery, but apparently, the car also had a bad alternator which Firestone didn’t have.  This meant sneaking me into a hotel and getting towed over to the Toyota dealership which is what we did the next morning.  Turns out that the state of North Carolina limits the quantity of alternators for 2007 Toyota Camry’s because not one was available in the entire state (dad checked). Another day/night in a hotel which brings us to where we are currently.   We are anxiously waiting a call from the dealership that the car is ready and we can finally get underway. What surprises await us?  I hope none.

We’ve made the best of the extended portion of our trip, but hotels just wear you out after a while.  So stay tuned, and hope to see you on the other side, back to our home in Georgia.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dispatch 2 Family Vacation By Molly

Well, I spent our day in my create while everybody else went shopping and sight seeing.  Dad and Uncle Chris hit the record store where dad apparently found some major scores including a mint copy ‘California Jam Two Live’ on vinyl whatever that is.  Katie picked up yet another Webkinz from O.P. Taylors in Bravard.  Me, I discovered some very interesting smells in the juniper bushes outside the front door and enjoyed each of the opportunities given to me to root around in them.  After a great meal (of which I was able to mooch a few nibblets) and great conversation we all turned in for the night.  Chris and Kim live an enviable life in the peaceful tranquility of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It's hard to describe how quiet the evenings are there. 

Friday morning, we said our goodbyes, piled into the car, and headed out for  Michele, Eric, Ethan, and some dog named Newman’s home in Fredrick Maryland.  It was a long stretch to drive and by the time we pulled into the driveway, it was 6:00 PM.  I was immediately thrown into my create while everybody else headed over to Toby and Christian Calvo’s house for what appears to be a regular Friday night barbeque where from what they told me, the million kids there all played together while adults yukked it up and consumed  copious amounts of booze late into the night.  I was told that these are some mighty good people Eric, Michele, and Ethan have for neighbors and friends.  I would get to meet them the following night.

While the humans were partying that night, I introduced myself to the portly old man beagle of the house.  I was told he might be ornery, but it turns out that we’ve got quite a bit in common.  His mooching skills, while a bit old school, are quite impressive.

The men spent Saturday golfing and the women and kids went to the pool.  A large, well attended party was thrown in the evening and much merriment ensued.  Old friend and fellow West Point brat Kelly Ripperberger and family made the trip up from VA as well as our bestest friend Lori Crowe from Silver Spring.  More drinks and boisterous behavior that would have bothered all the neighbors if they weren't all there on the back deck with us already.  It was a great night indeed.

More golf and pool hanging today, mooched some leftovers tonight and we’re all pretty wiped out.  Tomorrow, we’ll be heading north once again for Paramus New Jersey to see Grandma, uncles, aunts, cousins, dad’s friend Ted, Rod, and many more.  I will be ready to charm treats as soon as the car door opens in Springsteen land.

I heard dad mutter as he fell asleep tonight, “It’s quite an honor to meet all these amazing people my sister has as friends and am humbled that they so warmly welcomed us into their circle for a couple days”.  Amen to that dad.

Well, onward to New Jersey.  We’ll see you on the other side…

(Man, is it great to be back in the land of high speed internet!!!) 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dispatch 1 Family Vacation By Molly

Well, we finally got underway last around 5:00 PM or so, bound for my dad’s brother’s place in Pisgah Forrest, NC.  I spent the day working hard in preparation for the trip, meaning I slept on my couch spot while my owners scrambled around piling as much crap as they could possibly fit into a 2007 Toyota Camry.

I decided to take the wheel for the first leg and give my owners a break.  After ten or fifteen minutes of hard driving, it was definitely time to stop for something to eat.   My recommendation was McDonald’s for some of their most excellent fries. Only Katie seemed to think this was a good idea, and after my owners resoundingly vetoed my plan we pressed on.   I would not get my mouth on those fries until we were almost in South Carolina.

It was a fairly uneventful drive (except for those SWEET McDonald’s fries in Toccoa GA, did I tell you about those?).  Spirits were high as we navigated a new route to Uncle Chris & Aunt Kim’s, which took us through Nantahala Forrest and State Park.  As I swished through the switchbacks at a good click, a large black figure appeared in the road ahead.  Naturally, a little barking was in order.  A deer perhaps?  Nope, it only turned out to be a black bear, no big whup, but my owners thought it was a big deal.  People, sheez...

We arrived on time at Chris and Kim’s as they were returning from walking their two big dogs and… WHAT?!!!  Two big dogs, what are they doing here?!!!

I'm supposed to be the only dog on this junket.  Crap, now I’m going to have to share the attention.  Look, dad’s already playing with the new year old Golden Retriever mixes (Chelsea and Jenny).  Okay, I’ll admit it, there are great dogs in their own right.  It appears that their original owners just couldn't handle them and their new baby, so Chris and Kim are going to keep them.  I think we’ll be good friends for a long time.

Vinyl record shopping and sight seeing lined up tomorrow.  I hope I can go with them vs. being locked in my create.

More later… 

(Oh my god this taking for ever on Chris's dial up connection!  What is he, Ammish?!)