|Return to Normalcy...sort of
||[Oct. 19th, 2009|06:20 pm]
|[||Where am I?
|[||How I feel
Today was my first day back at work, and I have to admit that it was nice to get back into my work routine. This past week was terribly busy, not very relaxing, and felt way longer than a week. Let me take you through the past week.
After I got home from work, I had to pack up my suitcase. Usually I like to pack ahead of time, but it just wasn't going to happen for this trip. We (Chuck, his mom & stepdad, and I) left in rush hour to get to our hotel in Winchester. After checking in, we went to the pedestrian mall in town to find a place to eat. We ate at the Union Jack Pub (very English-type fare), which was very tasty. Afterwards we walked around a little because the weather was so nice and we weren't ready to head back to the hotel. It was a nice little town center.
After eating breakfast at the hotel, we headed for Skyline Drive on our way to Luray Caverns. We stopped at many of the overlooks for scenic pictures (mostly at Sandra's insistence). We got to Luray, purchased our tickets and headed down into the caverns. It was different than I remember it being, but the last time I went was in elementary school. Instead of small guided groups for a 20 minute tour, we each got a set of headphones and a transmitter so that we could type in the number for the feature we were at (the points of interest were each numbered so you could learn more about it). The good part of the audio tour was that we could take our time going through the caverns and taking pictures and just looking at the geologic formations. The bad side is that it was much more crowded down there (attendance has definitely increased over the years) and we encountered a couple of "traffic" jams. I also worried more about how the caves will be preserved when - even though there were workers stationed all over the place - the crowd can't be watched closely to keep them from touching the walls and formations. It was interesting though. We did eat lunch there before heading to Harrisonburg.
We hit the Visitor Center so Sandra could get directions to the Historical Society in Dayton (which is next to Harrisonburg). She wanted to see if she could find more information about her geneaology. After reaching the Historical Society building (for which the directions weren't accurate and Sandra had given us the wrong name for it and we had to turn around once because the sign was at the wrong spot), Chuck and I waited outside while Sandra looked for information. It was a relatively nice day, if a little cool. It would have been even better if we didn't keep getting whiffs of the nearby cows.
After an hour there, Chuck and I convinced Glen and Sandra to go to the Green Valley Book Fair (which allegedly has approximately 500,000 books). It happens only six times a year, for a two week period each time it opens. I got just a couple of books as did Chuck. I must admit that I was a little disappointed with their romance, but that's okay. It was interesting to look around there and get discounted new books. We ended the day with checking into our hotel in Waynesboro (which was booked solid) and eating at the Cracker Barrel next door.
We ate breakfast at the hotel because it was easy. We then headed to the Frontier Culture Musuem in Staunton, which was entirely an outdoor exhibit of early farms. There was an English farm, an Irish farm, a German farm, and several American farms (late 1700s to mid-1800s) which were a blend of the three styles. They were interesting to look at, but involved a lot of walking. We then ate lunch at a Five Guys across the street. Afterwards, we dropped Sandra off at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library (Sandra wants to go to every presidential library eventually), while Glenn, Chuck, and I went to an enormous antique warehouse. We figured it would be more interesting for us and it didn't cost us anything to look. Chuck and I actually found a couple of things (small) to buy. One was a small asian screen that looks like embroidery from afar but is actually some very small shells attached to fabric to make a scene. The other is a Korean vase I got for mom because it's similar to one she got from my nana. Even after taking our time through the huge warehouse (and I mean huge), we still finished before Sandra was done at the library. So we then walked up the main street of Staunton (or what we think was the main street) and looked in a couple of shops there. Chuck and I ended up buying a painting we saw in another antique store. It doesn't look like anything in particular, but I like it for some reason. We just don't like the frame.
After collecting Sandra, we drove to George Washington National Forest and stopped by Braley Pond so Chuck could dig among the rocks. He was hoping to find some fossils during the week, since there are many areas in the Shenandoahs that are good for finding fossils. Chuck likes geology and we figured he might as well get his fix. He called it quits when a sharp rock cut his finger, which meant we had to stop for neosporin and bandaids. Chuck also remembered to pick up some ear plugs for me (we were sharing a room with Sandra and Glenn and Glenn's snoring had kept me up the night before).
That night we ate at El Puerto Mexican Restaurant and the baby became suddenly very active. I don't know if she liked the music or I was just really hungry and she was insisting that I eat, but she was dancing around in there.
We got up early so we could eat breakfast before checking out of the hotel. We headed further south to the Natural Bridge. For the price of the ticket, we decided to walk the whole path (as the Natural Bridge is right after where they take your tickets) to Lace Falls. It was just under 2 miles there and back. It was a nice easy hike in brisk weather and we didn't encounter too many people that early. Just for the hell of it (and because they were included in our ticket), we went to the Toy "Musuem" under the Natural Bridge gift shop and then the Wax "Museum". The toy musuem, while containing many toys, was chaotically put together and a lot of the toys were things we played with as kids (though still collectible). It is clearly something they added to make the Natural Bridge more of an attraction. The wax museum felt much the same way. A lot of the figures were just creepy (like they were crazy) and only a couple seemed truly realistic.
After a lunch at Subway, we took a scenic route through Jefferson National Forest to try and find more places Chuck could dig for fossils. We didn't have much luck. We drove through Blacksburg to get to Wytheville and our next hotel. We ate dinner at a place called the Log Cabin, which was a very interesting old building with good food. Sandra picked it because it was her birthday. It's not a place to go if you want your food quickly. Our poor waitress seemed to be having one of those days were she's running around like a mad woman trying to keep up (even though it didn't look very full in the restaurant). She managed to spill Chuck's food all over the floor when she was passing out our food (she should have balanced the tray better). He got a free dessert out of it and they put a rush on his food so that he could get his meal before we had finished ours. After dinner we actually checked out the gift shop they have attached to the back of the building (it was a strange windy building that has been around and modified since before the Civil War). It was a strange collection of items, though I did like a few things, such as their salt candle holders.
Breakfast again occurred at the hotel we were staying at. We went to Sandra's Great Aunt Lydia's house in Cedar Bluff via a very windy road. We actually had to stop briefly so my head would stop spinning. It also took longer than anticipated because of the windiness. Lydia was very glad to have us over and was very disappointed that we weren't staying the night with her. We didn't want to impose on a 90-year-old woman, plus we'd never met her before. Except for trouble with her knees, she has her wits about her, so Sandra was able to pick her brain about her side of the family to flesh out the geneaology. Since we spent pretty much the whole day there, by the time I went to bed, the baby was moving around a lot. I think it was because she wasn't being lulled to sleep by the motion of the car or my walking around.
Wednesday was cold and rainy, but Sandra wanted to go to the Crab Orchard Museum. The inside exhibit was okay, but it was kind of crummy walking outside in the rain to see the old outdoor buildings. Thank goodness we remembered to pack the raincoats. Glenn opted to wait in the car throughout because he didn't want to venture into the rain. Afterwards, we dropped Sandra off at the Tazewell Historical Society while we stopped in a church parking lot so Chuck could examine the exposed rock. He didn't really find anything, but he had a good time looking even though he got pretty wet. I was doing a word puzzle and Glenn amused himself by reading The Annals of Southwest Virginia that Sandra had purchased at the Crab Orchard Museum. We then managed to see most of the town when Chuck was tired of being in the rain. We found an "Antique" store in a warehouse that we looked at. It was really cold in there because it was a warehouse and their door was open and it was filled with so much crap that it shouldn't even have qualified at a thrift store. They should rename it the Crap Store. We then stopped by a McDonald's for lunch while waiting for Sandra to call us to let us know that she was done. We still ended up waiting even after she called us, partly because the guy working there was copying 84 pages for her on the slowest machine ever. She found out that she is apparently related to half the county in one way or another. We then returned to Aunt Lydia's for the afternoon, partly so Sandra could return some photos she'd copied at a Wal-Mart and partly to pick her brain more. Glenn and Chuck went in search of more fossils while I watched some tv in Lydia's living room. When they got back, Chuck had quite the collection of rocks to clean up. Before we went back to our hotel, we had to stop by Lydia's niece's house just down the road, but we only stopped their for about 15 minutes or so.
Thursday turned out to be a mostly driving type of day. After checking out of the hotel, we made a couple of stops for Chuck to look for more fossils (with no luck unfortunately) before heading to Lynchburg via Roanoke. We only drove through Lynchburg so that I could show them where RMWC was. After that drive-by, we went to Charlottesville and viewed Monticello - the home of Thomas Jefferson (again it was a misty, cold day). We might have spent more time walking the grounds if the weather had been better, but we saw the house and the grave and the gift shop. We were pretty much done for the day after that and just checked into our hotel and hung out until dinner, which we ate across the street. I made the sad realization that I'll probably need to avoid booths in a few weeks because it's just getting too hard to slide in and out of the bench seats. I do have to admit, though, that the booth at the restaurant was more narrow than usual.
We tried to get an early start because we wanted to get home before rush hour in the afternoon, but our plans didn't work out quite that way. We did get up early and ate breakfast at a nearby deli (good food, quick service, and cheap prices) and we did get checked out of the hotel by about 8:30. We headed to Michie Tavern (pronounced like Mickey, and is near Monticello) so we could be there when it opened at 9. We did a self-guided tour because we didn't want to wait until 10 for the guided tours to start. That took a little less than an hour. We then headed to Ash Lawn-Highland (the home of James Monroe), where we ended up on a tour of kids with not so great chaperones. The kids were a little annoying because they kept asking questions that our tour guide (who was very patient and pretty good) had already answered or asking questions that had absolutely no relevance (what does it matter how much items in the house cost or whether they are available in the gift shop?) to the actual house. Chuck fears for our children, and the public school system, and I have to admit, watching the kids makes me worry as well. I also know I'm not homeschooling our kids and that we probably can't afford private school. We'll just have to make do and teach them by example.
After what felt like an extremely long tour, we headed to Montpelier (the home of James Madison). Sandra thought we were right on schedule because we got out of Ash Lawn around noon, but truthfully, we were behind because Chuck and I wanted to be heading home about 12:30, not going to another museum. Montpelier was interesting though. We got a good guide and we had older individuals in our tour group. The house was also mostly empty as they had just finished restoring the building last year and are working on getting accurate furnishings for the house now. We ate lunch at McDonald's (it was quick and easy) and finally got on the road home. The traffic we encountered wasn't too bad, so we managed to get home around 5-ish. We had a little time to relax (I unpacked as soon as we got home) before we went out to dinner with mom, dad, Eric, and Eric's friend Elena (her mom forgot to pick her up from their band practice).
We woke up early on Saturday. We didn't necessarily want to, but we had gone to bed as soon as we got back from dinner. It was another rainy cold day (as the trend seems to be lately), but we only had two things on the agenda. We left the house to return the rental car at Dulles and then had to drive Sandra and Glenn to Reagan immediately afterward so they could catch their flight to Florida (they're staying with Glenn's brother in Florida for a week before returning to California). We managed to drop them off safely and managed to get home safely, even though it was a pretty crappy drive in the rain. As you can imagine, once we got home, (after eating breakfast at Silver Diner) we didn't do a darn thing the rest of the day except prepare dinner, which was sandwiches. I should have done laundry, but I just didn't have the energy.
The only thing I did was laundry. Well, and I also dragged Chuck with me to the grocery store in the afternoon to grab a few things. Other than that, we didn't do much. What's weird is that either football or baseball was on the tv for most of the day. This is what happens when nothing else is on and I am too tired to care that sports are on.
Unfortunately, I discovered today that my phone was not in my purse like I thought it was and I have no idea where it is. I know I can't call it because the battery is dead by now. I have a feeling that I managed to leave it in the rental car, so I'll have to call tomorrow to see if they still have it, or I'm going to have to get a new phone. The only reason that I didn't notice it wasn't in my purse before now is because I didn't have any calls to make and wasn't expecting any. Sigh. Just one more thing to put on my to do list for this week.