Monday, January 2, 2017

Maryland Meandering: The Final Act

On New Year's Eve, the Y-chromosome portion of Team WestEnders faced a daunting, chock-full agenda...oh wait, no they didn't. Their entire list of goals for the daytime hours consisted of the following: wake football...repeat. Okay, to be fair, the younger boys punctuated all those stretches of lazy leisure time with some energetic bouts of playing. And in what has become a tradition--firmly in the category of "ridiculous...yet hilarious"--on every occasion when we visit this neighborhood, the boy children make their Safeway.

Even though at this point Derek could have chauffeured them, they stuck to the old habits...of riding bikes to the store. Now, this makes perfect sense in the Summer when they do it, but on a blustery, cold December afternoon? Brrrr! But I suppose have to I agree that their experience just wouldn't be the same if they couldn't argue about how much...junk they can schlep home on two wheels, though. So...what did they select to spend their hard-earned cash on this time? (Drumroll...) Chocolate croissants...doughnuts...Gatorade (so far this seems pretty in-character and even--dare I say it--reasonable)...a whole, fresh pineapple (okay, we've gone slightly off the rails)...and two bottles of froufy, aloe-infused water. (Whaaaat?)

When questioned, Derek explained that the baked goods were agreed upon by all, he and Riley wanted the sports drinks, the tropical fruit made it into the cart simply because it had been vetoed by his brother last time they went, and their friend just...wanted to buy expensive water, and "make it look like we were the kind of people who drank stuff that was 2-dollars-and-50-cents a bottle". (Well...of COURSE he's actually not at all surprising, if you know this trio of goofballs...)

Reportedly the son who isn't mine lobbied for purchasing and lugging entire HAM...but the sons who are mine countered that they should only choose things they were actually going to, you know, EAT. (Thank you, Temporary Voices of Reason...your elders appreciate the logic...and also NOT having to dispense with such a large amount of processed pork product...) Afterwards they apparently went to the park, as they also tend to do with their ill-gotten gains, to consume some of the pastries. (Maybe to delay their encounter with the Parental Inquisitional Squad...oh, right, that would also be known as "me"...) And finally, they returned to the homestead and used their buddy's golf clubs to practice their strokes (not that my kids HAVE one of those, but whatever)...on the remaining doughnuts. So to sum up: an altogether a successful and entertaining field trip by all accounts.

Meanwhile, I had my own little excursion to make, since I was meeting a college girlfriend for lunch. We hung out at Chipotle (one of those few "safe" places I know I can get something to eat--which does strike me as ironic, given their food-borne illness scare a while ago, but we'll just go with it...) to nosh and catch up for a while, but for some reason the restaurant was FREEZING. So we moved the conversation across the parking lot to Dunkin' Donuts, where we could procure tasty warm beverages, and continue enjoying each other's company...without shivering.

Although, speaking of being chilly, after our lovely and relaxing interlude, I returned to HQ with a few hours to spare before we needed to head out for our evening social engagement. What to do? I reeeaalllly wanted a nap...but I also knew I would benefit from a brisk walk after sitting around most of the day. In the end, the paltry number of steps logged on my FitBit guilted--um "positively motivated" me into it, and I opted for the stroll. (And can I just say: Maryland! You're killin' me! What is it with you...and WIND? Sheesh, as if I needed a reminder that I'm soooo not built for Winter...)

Then it was time to get cleaned up and gala-ready, since we'd be ushering in 2017 at a party, with a whole bunch of friends at one of their houses. There was...much revelry--mostly by the loud, rambunctious crowd of offspring. (At the risk of sounding like the Grinch...the obnoxious noisemakers, man...who invented those damn things? And can I have permission to slap them?) The adults, by comparison, were relatively sedate and well-behaved...while still managing to have a good time. Although Team WestEnders was pretty tired, as usual by this point in our Maryland sojourn, we stayed just long enough to bid 2016 farewell by watching the ball drop on TV in Times Square, welcome 2017, and wish everyone a Happy New Year...before heading back to home base for B-E-D.

On our final day in the north, after folks verrrry slowly got moving in the morning, we hung out with our hosts for a while, then spent a couple more hours at my dad's house for Bonus Family Time. After which...although we were kind of dreading it...we had to buck up and make the looong trek back to Chapel Hill. Derek got a pass this time, since all of us were probably equally exhausted...but Husband and I have logged vastly more hours behind the wheel under all conditions, and therefore felt better equipped to deal with the never-fun navigating-while-weary.

And the road was not too kind to us, either--starting with freakin' Virginia, where--for Heaven only knows what reason, because we were never able to see anything actually wrong--the 40 miles from Lorton to Fredericksburg took a delightful hour-and-a-half. (I know, I know, "So, what else is new?"...but it still SUCKS...Every. Time...) The middle section was blessedly uneventful, but the last 90 minutes featured rain--unfortunately on a not-very-well-lit part of the highway. Ugh. But, obviously we made it safe and sound...and wildly happy to be back at Casa WestEnders. It was another fabulous episode in the continuing saga, and for now we sign off with "So long, we look forward to returning and seeing you all again...when it's WARM!

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