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.