So, with Husband still having to keep the proverbial nose to the grindstone, the boys and I designated this as Olney Day. First we met one of my friends at the local bagel joint for breakfast and coffee (or chocolate milk, as appropriate). Since they'll probably read this at some point, I'll make sure to note that the boys were very patient and understanding while the women chatted to their hearts' content. (At least, right up until the moment they began inventing some sort of competition that involved knocking their empty plastic bottles across the table at each other...aaaannnd were subsequently advised to go the HECK outside for some fresh air...)
Then we had some time to kill before our next food-themed reunion, so we drove through the old neighborhood and surrounding area to see what had changed. (The short answer: the never-ending saga of home building and road construction has seemingly continued unabated in our absence...yaaaay...) We even had a few minutes to stop by a store we used to like, to purchase commemorative magnets--for Riley's school locker, our fridge in Chapel Hill, and my car, next to the NC license plate--that would serve to remind people where we originally came from (similar to the one shown below).
From there, it was time to move on once more, and join 2 of my college girlfriends at one of Team WestEnders' most-beloved eateries, the one we miss when we're away, and that we try to get back to each time we return, if possible: California Tortilla. And yes, this meant that the darling children had to sit pleasantly and peacefully for yet another couple of hours while the ladies talked about stuff that was of no interest to them whatsoever....which they did...until they got too bored and opted to go outside of their own volition. (I also suspect the level of cooperation I received from them was directly related to the fact that they were being FED quite handsomely in exchange--I do know how to work my audience, yeah?)
With about an hour left until Derek was scheduled to rendezvous with some of his middle school buddies at a nearby park, we hit up another popular hangout spot: the public library. Free WiFi network, unlimited supply of books and magazines...cushy armchairs...what else could you possibly want? When we dropped Derek off at the basketball court to--I'm not really sure, but I suspect "have tons of goofy conversations and...other silly teenage boy...stuff"--Riley and I proceeded to wander around on foot, soaking up the atmosphere of a rare, non-humidifed, 80-ish-degree August day in the D.C. Swamp Region.
Finally, I requested that we make one final, slight detour, at Lake Needwood for a stroll through the woods. Because soon we would have to gird ourselves to for the epic Battle of the Commute, as the clock had now reached Montgomery County Rush Hour (From Hell...it's just kind of implied and understood by the natives...and former denizens...) while we tarried on our social calls. I have to say, the forest was lovely, and the water looked so serene and appealing...but the overall effect was somewhat marred by the numerous neon yellow signs posted prominently on trees every couple of feet, warning you to stay out of the lake, due to the presence of "blue green algae"...which could lead to liver failure if ingested. Well, now...that sort of puts a damper on the whole "natural beauty" thing, doesn't it? We'll just admire from a safe vantage point on the trail, then...
Anyway, we did enjoy the scenery, at least, before fighting our way back to the hotel one last time on the overcrowded, traffic-snarled roadways. It was a full, rewarding day of catching up with old friends, revisiting special places, and most of all, having a whole lotta FUN. Not a bad way to spend a late-Summer Thursday, if I do say so myself!