On the morning of New Year's Eve, I rallied the troops to get up and ready and on the road by 10:00 a.m. to hit the highways and head to the country to visit friends and family. It's hard to be the drill sargeant when you're an old softie like me, but, dammit, I had a schedule to keep. We had two days off that we owed those folks and the sooner we got there, the more time we would have.
I took a little bit of grumbling from Doc who had forgotten he had promised me the night before that he would get up when I asked him too, no complaints. I had to remind him of his promise in no uncertain terms and very loudly in order to make my point. We got the kids bathed, dressed and fed. We got ourselves dressed. We packed clothes and snacks. We remembered the camera, we took the Wii (yes, we got a Wii for Christmas, thanks to my super sweet parents) and we hit the road 45 minutes behind schedule.
It was a pleasant drive and the kids are finally old enough that they can tolerate a two-hour road trip without much complaint, and, I proudly say, without a built in TV/DVD player, thank you very much. We hauled our butts down to Buckeye Lake to check in with our friend ERR and his son Devin. He welcomed us warmly and after some goofing around, we headed out to Buckeye Lake to enjoy the sunshine and 50 degree weather. It was so beautiful. Here are some photos:
ERR fed us Italian food until we burst and he and his girlfriend helped us ring in the new year. He then handed over the keys to his lovely home and headed over to his girlfriend's house. I suffered with indigestion througout most of the night as a snowstorm blew in and rattled the rafters. I slept in fits and had absurd, semi-realistic dreams where I couldn't tell if I was asleep or in hell. Finally, by six a.m. I dropped off into a deep, dreamless slumber, only to be awakened two hours later by a couple of perky, young, well-rested children. Doc kindly took the reins and let me get a bit more sleep.
After a late breakfast, we made our way to my sister-in-law's house where we were greeted with hugs and the delightful scent of a homemade, simple and delicious meal. All my neices and nephews were there along with my two brothers-in-law. Everyone was happy and well. We had a great time playing with the Wii, sharing geneology stories and playing games. Late in the afternoon, I tried to coax Lucy into taking a nap with me. She was showing all the signs of sleepiness: she was cooing and sucking her bottom lip. But there was too much going on for her to absent herself for even a moment.
My sister-in-law, is a lovely woman and a great cook. She busted out some homemade cherry liquour, which we toasted with. We made plans to get together for our second annual Groundhog's Day celebration at our place, complete with hot tubbing and watching Groundhog's Day, of course. Before I knew it, it was 8:30 p.m. and it was time to hit the road.
Once again, I was rallying the troops to hit the road. We hated to go, but I had to work the next day. We packed up and said our goodbyes. We weren't out of the driveway before the kids were asleep and we were making our way through the snowstorm on darkened country highways home.
Needless to say, I was dragging today. Work is slow and there is not much to keep the mind active. I fought fatigue most of the morning, but, on the advice of John Tesh, I had a Caesar salad with lemonade to boost my energy. Apparently, lemon helps kick in the benefits of the iron in the romaine lettuce. It seemed to work and I made it through the afternoon.
At my lowest moments on the road, I always gather evidence for why I don't like to travel. I become the princess and the pea and cannot sleep. I stay up too late the night before departure, running over my mental checklists until I become mental. I'm then grouchy and bossy and impose impossible schedules on my family, who are also creatures of habit resist being rushed. I know I'll burn the candle at both ends and end up paying for it once we get home.
However, I have found that the trouble is almost always worth it. I got to take some lovely pictures. I got to revisit my old home away from home. I got to see my lovely families. I got to eat wonderful food. I made many good memories. Sure, I'm bone-tired and I'm off-schedule. But the goodwill and love I found along the way made it worth it. As my good friend, ERR, once said, it's important to test one's limitations on occaision. He's right, of course. But, boy, am I tired.