I planned to avoid all holiday traffic on the way down by leaving at like, 9pm. That was a success although I was completely exhausted when we arrived. I should have let Jack drive some. Prior to leaving I scored many clothings at Kohl's including a bathing suit which is destined to be worn maybe 7 times this year, if that. On the way down out of the bajillion songs on my playlist, the iPod picked "Missed" by PJ Harvey. This is a song Donna (aforementioned HS friend) put on a mix for me back in the day. An auspicious sign! When we arrived we made the mistake of watching Burn Notice to lull ourselves to sleep. Come to find out the only 5 minutes I had seen previously, and thought was crap, were in fact the only/most crappy 5 minutes of the show. The rest is awesome. So we were up until almost 4 watching. Oops.
The actual Fourth was very laid back - for me because my parents did all the work! I did go grocery shopping with mom while dad took Jack out to help him buy a monitor. But that was the hardest work I did all day. On the way out to shop mom and I stopped at a rental she needed to check out (she is a property manager) which is right down on the water at the end of Newtown, before Pleasant Point. It was like old times and we talked about Homearama (I went to this many times as a kid, coming from a family of RE agents) and I wistfully stared at houses in PP. There is one in particular that I always rode by on my bike as a kid. We saw so much of that neighborhood go up, so it's still kind of weird.
Anyways, eventually we all settled down including uncle Jim to eat our burgers, dogs, and corn on the cob off the dining room table (complete with centerpiece) off the china with the silver. (And terrifying political discussions, although I opted not to participate because it would have been a bad scene.) While we did have whole wheat buns and turkey dogs, a generous and thoughtful nod from my father, points went right out the window. I always feel guilty turning down food. Oh well, it was a lovely meal and I was aware and it wasn't like some kind of mindless emotional eating thing so that's ok. After dinner I made sure to take a long walk around the neighborhood to compensate a bit.
That was bittersweet, really, because I walked us around where my grandmother's house is. Or rather, my grandmother's former house; she hasn't lived there since my grandfather passed away, many years ago. It was hard, for some reason, to see the place and not be able to explore it, or truly return to it. I told Jack I was not doing a very good job practicing my buddhist non-attachment, as places are not equivalent to experiences, but he was very good about reminding me that sometimes we have totems to represent a good feeling and that this is just a very powerful totem for me. I am really attached to my past which is odd, since my memories are so foggy.
The other difficult (and foggy) thing about the walk was the smoke getting all up in my throat. UGH. In case you didn't know the dismal swamp is on fire and the smoke is choking the tidewater area. We cut our walk short as a result. When we got home, we watched Carrier with my dad, which is hard, but very worthwhile. I know it's a different Navy now but it's still pretty awesome to get to see a little bit of what life is like for a sailor. I thought they were pretty even handed, showing different enlisted and officers points of view, those for and against the war.
Saturday we woke up pretty late and got cleaned up just about in time to meet up with Donna. We decided to go to Doumar's which, while it's a Norfolk legacy, was never a hangout of mine at the time. It was a real treat; a fantastic and perfectly sized BBQ sandwich, not to mention the ice cream. See why I gave up counting? At any rate, we dove right into non-small talk and refreshed our memories. She is a social worker, you know, like I used to want to be. It was a rare thing where I really felt comfortable right away chatting. Now of course since my email is down I have no way of knowing if I've lost her email address forever. ARGH. Our reminiscences were helpful to me in putting my earlier life in perspective but it was even more fun to talk about what we're up to now.
Later on we cooked out with my parents again and had 4th of July dinner all over again, which was just as yummy the second time. The corn was amazing. I did some homework (not nearly enough) and after things wound down we invaded geniealisa & puck_eater's domain and downed beers and laughed about things and life and so on, well into the late night. I need another fun thing to do like I need a hole in my head, but BlogHer is a little bit attractive to me after our chat. We'll see how next year is shaping up, and if they decide to have one a little bit... closer.
Sunday was suuuuuuper lazy such that we didn't go out to lunch with my parents until after 2pm. We ate seafood at the Ship's Cabin, where I put a hurting on some fried things: calamari, shrimp, and scallops. I LOVE SCALLOPS PEOPLE. Just so you know. We then drove through a monsoon to avoid the HRBT and hit the Monitor-Merrimac instead, going through Portsmouth. This was all fine, and we sailed smoothly over to editgrrl's place where we visited with her & K before truly hitting the road. We got about 10 miles from the Potomac bridge when traffic stopped dead; I will say that now we know that 301 to 17 is not foolproof. We detoured on 3 over to F'burg and were fortunate to find only some limited traffic on 95. Of course by this point it was after 9pm. Thank god for audible - I went back to history class with This Sceptred Isle: Empire which I'd downloaded to get some of the history of Australia & New Zealand. But I got the whole series so it starts far before that. I'm a history ignoramus due to binge & purge learning in my youth so this kind of thing is really revelatory to me.
Then it was back to work! My brain is exploding and the worst of my schoolwork is far from over.
I have a regular big non-flat 27" redundant TV. It was on loan for about 6 years and it's back. It works. Free to a good home! Anyone want? If not, do you know of a good organization to donate it to?
This week has been thus far marked by gremlins in my works. From the email misery to leaving the door to my car open all night to having mysterious grease stains on my clean shirt to having a beloved toy disappear from my desk... I am not liking it.