Home Again, Home Again

Jiggity Jog.

Was away on a Women’s Retreat this weekend. Bunch of ladies from my church rented two lovely, huge beach houses. And I do mean huge. The main house had 9 bedrooms and 7.5 baths (not counting the two master suites we didn’t rent), an indoor pool, home theater, pool table, ping pong, beachside. Luxury…sorta. The house was brand-spanking new, and felt thrown together–doors didn’t latch and lock, gaps in the windows, and the WiFi didn’t really work (which is why I didn’t post like I’d planned to).

Our first night was very…um…exciting. We arrived in the middle of a nor’easter. We got sandblasted (literally) with 40+ mph winds. The sand covered the cars like snow. I had sand in my ears, in my hair, in my pockets, just from unloading the car. The wind was so strong that the house I was in, which was built up on stilts for flooding reasons, swayed so badly that I got seasick. On land. The tide came within about 25 feet of the house (if you click the link, look at the sandfence in the background. The waves were up to there).

At the same time, it was awesome. I’ve never seen the ocean so wild. The waves had to be 15-20 feet tall. And so loud. And my room had a Jacuzzi 😀

I’d finished Fire in the Mist before leaving for the weekend (hopefully I’ll get to my review on it soon), so I read Piper at the Gate, by Mary Stanton instead. I loved Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West (it’s one of those I go back and read at least once a year), but wasn’t as impressed with Piper. Especially since information given in the first book was changed in the second. That Argh-ivates me to no end.

The retreat ended Sunday, but we had the house until Monday morning, so my husband and daughter came down for Sunday night and we got to let the Punkin run around on the beach for a bit. She loved the sand–laughed, kicked at it, wiggled her toes in it–but hated the water itself. Didn’t like the pool either. Thought playing pool was mighty fun though.

Nice sunny day today…as we were leaving. On the way home we stopped to let me get some scenery data for my book, which opens outside of Richmond. But once I got home I realized I might not have been in the right place. Which means I’m not sure, once again, where my action is taking place. ARGGHHH!! Drives me nuts. So now I get to spend the rest of the evening trying to pinpoint where Stonewall Jackson had his HQ on June 26, 1862, and whether or not there is a stream nearby.

I So Have to Write this Story!

Don’t remember where I stole this photo from (probably Bonnie), but it just screams “Write about me! Write about me! Or else…”

Well, today my hubby located Fluffy’s second in command, Uzi Cat (from downlinepartners.net).

Just had to share those with you.

Why the Traveler hasn’t actually posted anything in the 3 days since she’s been home.

It’s because I’ve still not recovered.

From the first day of the trip.

My Tuesday went like this:

Went to bed about 330 a.m.

Daughter woke up about 335 a.m. with allergy itchies. Took another 1/2-3/4 hours to get her back to sleep.

Husband wakes me up at 5 a.m.

5:30 a.m. Pack the car in the pouring rain. Throw husband, daughter, and both dogs in the car and set off to slog through the first-day-after-holiday morning rush hour on Interstate 95.

It’s still pouring.

About 715 a.m.ish smell something weird. We figure it’s a car nearby, since traffic is very heavy, even on the HOV (which we were able to take, thank goodness)

Shortly after 730 take the Arlington exit towards Ronald Reagan National Airport. It’s still pouring, but at least it’s light enough to see. Car is acting strangely. I think it’s because the brakes are wet.

Then the power steering goes out. And the power brakes. Then we see that the temp gauge is railed on H. And the little dashboard light of the thermometer is a bright red.

I manage to pull into a hotel parking lot and crank the wheel enough that we’re not in the middle of the driveway (instead we’re dead smack dab in the middle of both handicapped parking spots).

Hubby calls AAA. They can’t be there until about 945. It’s now not quite 8 a.m. Hubby has to get to the airport pronto to get through security in time to catch his 10 a.m. flight. And National has got some of the tightest security out there.

Thankfully, the hotel lets him take their shuttle bus to the airport.

But he has to leave me there waiting for AAA. In the pouring rain. With a quite dead car. And a 20 month old. And two dogs.

The plot thickens.

I talk to my dad, who knows cars. His long-distance diagnosis–broken drive belt. The thingy that runs the entire car.

Ack.

Sure enough, once the rain lets up I see under the car, and there’s the belt, hanging off the bottom of the van.

Double ack.

Hubby makes his flight just fine (whew). But 10 a.m. rolls around and no tow truck. I call AAA. The tow truck is stuck in traffic and won’t be there until 11 a.m.

At first AAA wants to send us to a dealership across the river in downtown DC. I freak. What am I supposed to do with two dogs and a toddler in downtown DC? A very nice agent finds a much closer dealership (about 4 miles away).

Okay, so the car has a place to go. What about the rest of us? I don’t know anybody up in NoVa, not anymore. And certainly not anyone who could take two dogs and a carseat in their car. I put out an SOS to my church.

The tow truck finally arrives. The dogs are not pleased to be kept in the car while being towed (even on a flatbed tow truck)

Meanwhile, my pastor is driving up from Garrisonville (about an hour-1.5 hours south). He meets me at the dealership and takes us all the way to Dulles Airport, where we picked up the key to my aunt’s condo in Ashburn.

My mother was already on the road from WV, met us in Ashburn, and then we all drove back to WV.

I was hoping to be in WV by about 11 a.m. that morning. Even with traffic it should have only taken 2.5 hours from DC to Mom and Dad’s place.

We arrive at their apartment about 630 p.m.

Needless to say, I was quite bushed/shattered/braindead.

The dealership actually had our car fixed by the next day (amazing, huh?). A pulley on the drive belt had broken, so we had to replace the pulley, a tensioner, the belt, and some shield that was supposed to be underneath the car to help protect that area from bumps and elements. A shield which I’ve never seen in all the times I’ve changed the oil in that car. I don’t think it had that shield even when we bought it (we did buy it used). Which is the probable explanation for why that part of the car decided to fall apart.

We had a nice visit in WV, then Friday we got to reverse the trip. And that was all sorts of fun too.

Getting into town wasn’t too bad, since we were going against traffic.

Until we couldn’t find the dealership again and ended up on the wrong end of Glebe Road and had to backtrack through Arlington. Yes, we had directions from the Internet. But like Internet directions, it took us the straightest route = straight through the suburbs of DC. I refused and plotted an alternate, mostly interstate, route. And managed to get us lost. Which is strange, because I’m usually very good with maps and directions and whatnot.

Finally picked up the car around 4, got everything switched back over from Mom’s car to mine, and hit the road around 415 p.m.

Just in time to hit Friday afternoon rush hour traffic.

It took me 1.5 hours to go 20 miles.

Got home before dark, unloaded the car, and collapsed.

Could have been a lot worse. Car could have died on the interstate, the engine could have seized, the water pump could have broken, hubby could have missed his flight, we could have been on the wrong side of town, could have been stranded for longer, car could have cost more than it was worth to fix, and so on.

But it was still exhausting.

To top it off I had 3 Irish dance performances Saturday, family get-together Sunday, and pictures for the Punkin Monday morning.

And I miss my hubby 🙁

I’m going to go collapse in my bed now. I’m hoping to post a review of the Temeraire series tomorrow.

Later.

Travels…

I’m rather scatterbrained right now. My hubbie leaves for 2 1/2 weeks of job-related stuff out in California (the middle of the Mojave Desert. Ickers), and the Punkin, the dogs, and I are headed to WV to see my folks. Have to leave here at 530 am. And our usual bedtime is around 2 am. Yeah, tomorrow’s going to be a lonnnng day.

I’ll try to post from the boondocks, but can’t guarantee.

Laters!

Schedules

I’m terrible about keeping to self-imposed schedules. I’ll do just fine for a week or so, and then something will crop up here, or something else over there, and before I know it I’m back to bed at 3am and getting up at 6 with the Punkin then being an absolute bear until 2ish when the Punkin and I collapse for our afternoon naps. And of course that’s a wasted 2-3 hour chunk of time, and if I nap then I’m up late again at night. Ach, es ist ein Teufelkreis.

The biggest problem with schedules and my family is we have no set wake-up time (except Sunday morning when we have to be out of the house by 7:15 a.m.) My husband works flex time, so as long as he puts in his 8.5 hours, he’s good to go. Which is why he tends to go into work at 1pm, get home after 9, and neither of us go to bed until 2 or 3 am. A vicious circle.

Okay, so it’s not vicious really. Just annoying. Especially when we try to interact with the rest of the 9-5 world.

But I really, really want to be disciplined enough to write every day. I believe it’s something I’m supposed to do.

So, I’ve attempted another schedule.

This time I got smart (maybe) and used blocks of time based off of a variable wake-up time. So, instead of forcing myself to get up at 8 and start writing at 10am, I can get up whenever I please (or rather, when the Punkin pleases). 2 1/2 hours later I’ll start writing, and write for about 1 1/2 hours, then go on to whatever needs to be done next.

For example: 4 hours from wake-up is lunch, after lunch is playtime, then naptime, etc.

Am I explaining this well? I don’t feel like I am, but ach so.

Granted, it doesn’t leave much room for the muse to strike, for writing until the torrent of ideas no longer flows from my poor head. But I’m hoping that not pegging myself to set times will enable me to finally stick to a schedule, to get some writing in every day. Which will hopefully be more than the fits and starts I’ve been doing.

I’ll let you know how it works.