Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
of Waynesville. Why? We couldn't find the recycling center. We're
conscientious folk, well-versed in recycling. We had more recycling
than garbage, even; tho that's where things went down the tube. If we
had more recycling than would fit in the can provided, we were
responsible for taking it to a center. How hard is that, really?
Well, never underestimate our ability to overcomplicate the simplest
situation. We read that it was near K-Mart. Good, we pass that all the
time! We drove past K-Mart & didn't see it. We stopped at Ingles for
ice & juice boxes, & asked them where it is. "By the K-Mart, you can't
We try again, and despite multiple assurances of how easy it is to
find, we miss it. I google map recycle centers, & only get the big
places - not drop offs. I finally call the visitor's center - they
answer questions dumber than this all the time.
In the meantime, the children have once again lost their minds. Bubba
was hollering, and the other 3 in the very back seat were whining and
bitching. Adults were speaking loudly to the children. It was
The gentleman that was helping me was very nice, and never once asked
who was being tortured in the background. He gave me directions...of a
sort. You pass the K-Mart, by the way. Like, over a mile past K-Mart.
I relayed the directions to Val-she's driving right now-and I asked
the appropriate questions. Did I mention it was stressful? We were
sitting in the parking lot of a Verizon store by this tine, a huge bag
if recycling plopped in the middle of the van, all desperate to go
He said to "turn left at the 3rd light that's 19." then he put me on
hold for a moment while he asked someone for the street name. The
absurdity of the whole situation crashes down on me at thy precise
moment. The light that's 19? What the ever-loving hell is that
supposed to mean?
I started laughing; silently but VERY hard. It was like laughing in
church - it's funnier sometimes because you're not supposed to do it.
What if the very helpful man comes back on while I'm silently
Val looked over, & I had one hand clamped over my mouth, the other
holding my phone to my ear, and tears streaming down my face. Then I
snorted; and baby, at that point? All bets are off. Full-fledged
hysterical laughter. Eyes tearing, nose running...the works.
The very nice man came back & once again didn't ask any questions. I
tried not to sound hysterical & thanked him for his help. Turns out he
meant "Turn right at the 3rd light-that is 19 (as in Hwy 19)."
So we found it, waited in a ridiculous line, and finally got rid of
Nearly an hour after we cleared the driveway, we are on our way home.
My tummy hurts from laughing, & my head hurts from the entire process.
I'm gonna nap, maybe.
Sent from my iPhone
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Bella says that he should ride with us so she'll have someone to talk
to - someone closer to her age. Mac says, "you can talk to your Mom -
she's like a 9 year-old on the inside."
Sent from my iPhone
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
We had a blast in the park yesterday but couldn't blog on the spot as we only have a cell signal at the bottom or the top of the mountains...there's nada in between. Taking lots of pics, too, but I'm too tired to get my camera bag out and hook it up to the computer this morning. We had a busy day yesterday and I was restless in bed last night. Also, Buddha woke up a few times with a croup-y sounding cough, so I woke up long enough to worry for him a bit each time.
I'm sitting on the screened-in porch outside the dining area typing this. The sun hasn't come up high enough to touch the tops of the trees yet, much less to reach the cabin. I'm showered, dressed, and am most of the way through a dissappointingly small cup of coffee. Someone upstairs has showered, but I don't know who...my money is on Teresa. I'm listening to the morning birds and the morning cows just down the mountain from us. Relaxing, right? Aaaah, vacation!
I'm gonna get a refill in my tiny coffee cup and will start sending pics I took on my phone yesterday to play catch-up. Enjoy your Saturday!
Friday, July 1, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
it's not necessarily easier going down than it was coming up. Getting
to the point at which we are currently parked was not admitting
defeat; quite to the contrary, it was a huge victory!
The gravel road leading to this was...well, let's say it was
memorable. I'm not ready to talk about it yet. Ugh. Suffice it to say,
Val nearly had a panic attack and I nearly had a heart attack. Un.
We have totally lost it.
Ned Nedervander is filled with the meaty aroma of slim jims. The sun is rising in a very cloudy sky as we pass Davenpot Alabama on I-65. Jen is still driving, everyone else is asleep.
According to the GPS, we'll make it to Goats on the Roof around 11.
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Also, I asked Jen (who is driving) if she needed a snack, asking her if she wanted to "slap into a snim jim". She did not want to do so.
We are watching Cars, and the tractor scene scared the pants off of us, even though we knew it was coming. Good times.
We have had to reiterate some rules - Bella started singin earlier, which is a no-no. We had to establish a blanket farting policy, for reasons I won't go into here.
All-in-all, it's been a good start. Bubba has drifted off to sleep, so that's one down! Now here's hoping the rest of us (save Jen, who is driving and therefore should not sleep) can go noi noi.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
September of last year. I do like to plan ahead.
Val & I walked into Hertz @ 8:58am. There was no van in the parking
lot, and I won't lie - I freaked out on the inside thinking maybe I'd
made the reservation for the wrong date or something. Not the case.
The guy helping us realized something was amiss when there were no
minivan keys there. After much "well, it was here last night!" and
"look harder!" and the like, someone asks if it has satellite radio.
Why yes, it did. "well, if that's the case, then Chris probably took
it home last night."
... I will pause here to let you digest that.
So Chris has it, and everyone's embarrassed. They call Chris to find
out he sick...and not planning to come in today.
... I pause again.
So now what? Everyone scrambles around, calling other Hertzs to find a
van. I've been offered a mid-size SUV (HELL no) and a Tahoe so far.
The Tahoe would be nice, but we'd spend twice as much on gas.
3 guys left for the airport to "acquire" a van from them. They'll pay
it back when Chris finally comes in this afternoon. Ollie, the guy
helping us, has been very apologetic & very helpful -I have nothing
but nice things to say about him. It's not his fault his boss did
something really, REALLY dumb & left him here to swing for it.
It's now 9:35 and still we sit. Val had to leave to go to work, so I'm
hanging out waiting. I plan to call Hertz & AAA once I get home to
make sure everyone knows exactly how I feel about the situation.
Not an auspicious beginning, eh?
Sent from my iPhone
Monday, June 27, 2011
Even though we aren't leaving for another 14-15 hours, we spent a lot of time in the car this morning - dropping Mike off at work, dropping Mabel (our Boxer puppy) off with her vacation family, and making a Walmart run. I had to stop back by Mike's work to take him lunch, and Lulu was so excited to see him, that she grabbed him and hugged him. This is cute because Lulu has only recently learned how to hug, and she usually prefers to do her hugging on animals (especially 1 very adorable and funny looking black pug).
Mostly though, I'm posting this so I can go back and prove to myself in a day or a week or whenever that she was, at one point and time, happy in her carseat.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Also, we haven't even left yet, and the kids have already made us crazy. HELP US.
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I will respect the parent-ocracy. The Expedition is not a democracy, it is a PARENTocracy. This vacation was planned, funded, and flawlessly executed by one or more of your loving parents. Expedition members should consider themselves very, very lucky to be going anywhere at all. Any member of the Parentocracy is automatically granted special rights and responsibilities which will be outlined here, but new laws may be created should the need arise.
All members of the Parentocracy Governing Board have the power of the “final word” on any subject; this includes, but is not limited to:
- Bothering: The Parentocracy will be the final authority on what constitutes “bothering”. For example, poking someone would be considered bothering. Looking at someone, or the person across the way sitting with their legs crossed in a way you don’t like does NOT constitute bothering, no matter how much it might bother you, for whatever reason.
- Burping contests: Parentocracy members are the only Expedition members allowed to suggest and supervise burping contests. While non-Parentocracy members may vote for a winner of said contest, the ultimate decision of burp victory is left to the participating Parentocracy Governing Board members
- Fart-related disputes: The Parentocracy refuses to mediate fart-related disputes, nor do they subscribe to such faulty logic as “he who smelt it dealt it” or the like.
- Item-related disputes: If an item becomes the subject of dispute and the Parentocracy become aware of it, said item will be forfeited until such a time as the adults deign to return it. Keep asking to get it back and we'll sell whatever it is to Bigfoot and spend the money on vegetables. Especially the ones you don't like.
- Driving is a very stressful activity and therefore place the driver (also called “captain”) in charge of items and activities to include (but not limited to): vehicle air conditioning, radio stations, radio volume, iPod playlists, travel speed, and the time and location of bathroom breaks or meals. The driver deserves respect from all other passengers; potentially distracting behaviors (such as screeching, shouting, or screaming) should be avoided to ensure the safest ride possible.
- Riding shotgun is a privilege, not a right. The rider in shotgun position must be able to check the driver’s blind spot for cars, be able to reprogram the GPS, reach the cooler for beverages/snacks without removing his/her seatbelt, answer vague trivia questions as they occur to the driver, and be able to properly work the driver’s phone with little-to-no coaching. You can call shotgun all day long, but your chances are slim. Adults over 18 years old have veto privilege over the shotgun request of anyone under the age of 18.
- Every rider in every Expedition vehicle will wear his/her seatbelt at all times - no exceptions. Even if you can't get comfortable, even if you can't sleep, even if you feel as though it's choking you, there is no good reason to remove your seatbelt. This is not only the Parentocracy law, this is the law of every single state we will be driving through. This is for your safety and to avoid the costly ticket the driver would receive if you don't wear it. No arguments, no asking, no trying to be sneaky and take it off underneath your blanket. Removal of your seat belt while on the road will result in punishment of an unpleasant sort, to be determined.
- Seats are assigned by Momocracy members before departure. Your seat is your seat. If you can work out an arrangement to swap seats with another rider, those arrangements should take the duration of the swap into consideration so as to avoid arguments later. As soon as a seat-related argument breaks out, assigned seats will become permanent and swaps no longer an option.
- Do not ask "Are we there yet?" If we are still driving, we are obviously not there yet. Rest assured that you will be notified of our impending arrival, because the adults in the car will be just as excited as you. And you are not tricky and smart by asking "how close are we" or "how long until we get there". You will receive updates on our progress periodically. Allowed, within reason (as in, not every half hour): "Where are we".
- Any personal electronic device you plan to use for your own, personal entertainment (i.e., an iPod, DS, etc.) WILL be used with headphones. In addition, you may NOT unplug your headphones without permission. Please see the Rule of One. It applies here, both to asking and to being told no.
- The Bubba Clause: Anything Bubba plays with/watches is potentially exempt from this rule, due to his sensitivity to sound and noise (unless he consents to wear headphones, the chances of which are slim). IF Bubba is playing with something that is making a noise/sound that irritates you, listen to/watch/play with something of your own (with headphones) to drown out the sound. Or just deal with it.
- I will respect bathroom breaks. When the expedition pauses for a bathroom break, everyone will make an effort to go to the bathroom. Do not let the words "but I don't HAVE to pee!" pass your lips. It doesn't matter - if you have a bladder, you will get out of the vehicle and make sure said bladder is empty before we leave. The first person to skip a bathroom break only to announce 15 minutes after we get back on the road that he/she needs to pee will be using the bathroom on the side of the interstate.
- Do not wait until it's an emergency to tell someone you need to use the bathroom. You should let someone know as soon as the urge strikes you that you will need to use a restroom, and when possible provide an approximate time frame ("I'm going to need to stop at the next rest stop, please!"). If you fail to do so or fail to respond to being notified that there are no more rest stops for 300 miles, you will use the bathroom on the side of the road. Where Bigfoot might be watching.
- There will be no screeching, shouting, or screaming in the expedition vehicle. It is annoying and possibly dangerously distracting for the driver. Conversation should be maintained at a normal level. Laughing is permitted and encouraged. Singing will be considered on a case-by-base basis (however, songs about bottles of anything - milk, beer, etc, are not allowed, under any circumstances). Arguing is strictly forbidden - if you can't get along, leave each other alone. Pestering, bothering and goading will not be permitted.
- Everybody farts, sometimes: please use commonsense rules of polite society if you fart or burp in the vehicle. Burping is permitted, but one should not make themselves burp (see Carsickness rule). Should you burp, you are expected to 1) excuse yourself, and 2) keep it to yourself and not blow it In someone's face. Burp blowing is a violation of the Expeiditon Oath and can result in loss of beverage privileges. Farting is allowed, but arguing over farting is not.
- If you feel as though you might throw up (carsickness), let someone know as early as possible. If you do throw up, attempt to do so IN something: a bag or trash can, etc. If you are doing something that makes you feel like you might throw up (i.e, reading in the moving vehicle), stop. Close your eyes, lean back, take a small sip of your drink, and see if you feel better. If, while on the road, you discover that a certain activity makes you feel like you might throw up, don't do that anymore. Find another activity that does not make you want to puke. Puking in the vehicle is severely frowned upon for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which being that it could set off a chain reaction of sympathy puking amongst family members, all of whom have sensitive stomachs. Accidents happen, and will be understood as such, but keep in mind: puke in something, whenever possible. It will be better for all of us.
- THE RULE OF ONE: You may submit a request once; if your request is denied you may not ask again. Should your request is denied, you are allowed one (1) exclamation of dismay ("aww, maaaan!" or similar). You do not ask again. It really is that simple. Breaking the RULE OF ONE will result in a warning, and then punishment at the discretion of the Parentocracy. Continuous whining will result in revocation of fun outing privileges. Addendum: asking the same question but adding "please" still counts as asking the same question, but do keep in mind that using "please" the first time you request something might help your case. Still, no guarantees.
- BICKERING: If you cannot play nicely with each other, do not play with each other. Everyone will have his/her own things to do. Remember the "Rule of One": if you want to play with something your cousin brought, you may ask him/her once if you may borrow it. If your cousin says no, that's it - don't ask again. Do not tattle that your cousin will not share. If your cousin says yes, discuss an appropriate time frame for usage of whatever it is you are borrowing/loaning. Letting someone borrow something for two minutes and then taking it back is not permitted.
- Should you have your own money, YOU may purchase something (see "your money" rule for more information on purchases). If you see something you want and cannot afford, or just don't want to break a $20, you may ASK your mom, once (see "rule of one"). You MAY NOT ask your Aunt, cousin or anyone else to purchase something for you. Punishment will be swift and severe for anyone caught begging from family members.
- Be careful with your money. Yes, it is *your* money. However, the Parentocracy reserves right of review AND refusal on purchases. Every purchase must be approved by YOUR mother or father. Although it might seem like you will not survive without a $20, five-pound Slim Jim, rest assured the Parentocracy has the best interests in both your physical and financial health when they suggest you opt for something else on which to spend your money. And while you might be upset when your request to purchase 10 pounds of saltwater taffy is denied, you will ultimately be grateful that you will still have money to spend (and a digestive track clear of 10 pounds of saltwater taffy or five pounds of Slim Jim). Your cash should be counted and organized periodically, so that you have an idea of what you have to spend. You are responsible for your money, and if you lose your money, it is lost and will NOT be replaced. If you need help securing or counting, a Parentocracy member will gladly help you.
- I WILL ALWAYS BE NEAT. Even though it goes against your nature. Be neater than you are at home, neater than you are anywhere else, ever. Straighten up your sleeping area when you awake. Your things (clothes, books, games) should be kept near your sleeping area to avoid losing or leaving items. Dirty clothes should be placed with dirty clothes, not spread around the house. Your fellow Expedition members do NOT want to see your camoflouge boxer briefs or your My Little Pony panties on the bathroom floor or anywhere else. Dirty clothes should not be jumbled up with clean clothes in your suitcase or anywhere else. Doing so will result in stinky clean clothes that you will be forced to wear anyway, to teach you a lesson. Don’t leave your crap laying around, lest it get lost, stolen, or eaten by a toddler. AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FLUSH.
- I WILL ALWAYS BE POLITE AND CONSIDERATE. If you wake up early and everyone else in base camp is asleep, be quiet. If you are trying to sleep and the other people in the house wake you up, deal with it. Before asking for seconds at a meal, make sure everyone else has eaten. Take short showers, don't hog the bathroom, don't use someone else's personal things (i.e, toothbrushes), knock on doors and wait to be invited in before entering rooms, make polite conversation when engaged (no mumbling "whatever" as an answer to every question), and share and play nicely with other children. We are Southern ladies and gentlemen, and we will remember our manners and behave as such. "Please" and "Thank you" are required. AND REMEMBER: ALWAYS, ALWAYS FLUSH. ALWAYS.
- I WILL BE HELPFUL AND OFFER TO HELP. To your mom, to your Aunt, to other kids, to any other expedition member. Offer to help CONSTANTLY. If someone is working in the kitchen, whether cooking or cleaning, offer to help. If someone is carrying something heavy, offer to help. Utter the question often, because it will never get old: "Is there any way I can help you?". It is the least we can do. IT IS EXPECTED that, after a meal thoughtfully prepared meal, our underage citizens will automatically get up and help with dishes and/or cleanup.
- I WILL LOOK OUT FOR THE LITTLE KIDS. Make sure there's no little pieces of stuff on the floor that Lulu will eat, make sure none of the toddlers are perched precariously atop a baby gate on the third floor, don't let anyone slide down a banister (nor should you try this yourself), just help out by making sure no one gets hurt or escapes or eats and/or drink something they should not. And you should point out potential trouble as soon as possible...for example, pointing out your brother went out the back door and slid down the mountain until he bounced off a tree and was taken away by a bear would be TOO late. If you see your brother trying to escape, let someone know ASAP or, should his escape look imminent, stop him yourself.
- I DO NOT EXPECT TO BE ENTERTAINED. While there are many fun things planned for this trip, not every moment of the day will be taken up by activity. Read a book, play a video game, complete a ThackHunt craft or photo item, go outside, take a nap, BE SELF-SUFFICIENT. If you approach an adult complaining of boredom or a lack of something to do, said adult will find you something to do and rest assured, it will not be fun. It might involve toilets or hair clogs or diaper changes.
- I WILL NOT COMPLAIN. If you feel the need to complain, sit on it and wait until you can complain in private later to your Mother, but do not expect sympathy. If the bed you are sleeping in is uncomfortable, don't complain. If the dinner being offered it not to your liking, don't complain. If you hate what's on TV, don't complain (and for pete's sake, go find something better to do - we're on vacation!). Remember: we didn't have to bring you.
- I WILL EAT WHAT IS OFFERED. In order to make this trip more affordable for everyone involved, most meals will be eaten at base camp. If that is boring, I'm sorry. Deal with it. If you think sandwiches for lunch every day is boring: deal with it. We are there to enjoy the scenery and history and fun things to do, not to experience culinary delicacies. If you don't like what is offered, spend your money to buy something you like.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
1.) This scavenger hunt is not a contest between players; rather, it is a contest for the players to complete together. So remember: you are not playing AGAINST your cousin (sister, roommate-in-law, etc), but WITH him/her. YOU MUST WORK TOGETHER. Points will be totaled at the end of the trip and, should the total meet or exceed the winning score, all participating Thackersons will get an AMAZING PRIZE! (Your awesome judges are prohibited from participating)
2.) Unless noted, the judging panel prefers that items be worked on and completed AS A TEAM. Exceptions to this rule will be considered on a case-by-case basis but is not guaranteed.
3.) You must complete one task/item before starting another, lest you clutter up your surroundings with half-completed craft projects. If you don't feel like working on a certain project anymore, either hurry up and finish it (and risk point loss for shoddy work) or else take a break for a while.
4.) Each item is marked with a maximum number of points that can be awarded for its' completion. Complete each task to the best of your ability and your efforts (AS A TEAM!) will be judged (at a date and time TBD). Total points will be calculated and based on these points.
5.) If an argument takes place while a task is being completed, points will be taken away for that task. A member of the judging panel will keep track of this and points will be deducted at judging. Discussion is fine, arguing is not. Should a discussion occur that SOUNDS like an argument, you will be given the benefit of the doubt and one warning will be given. If, after that warning, the discussion continues to sound like an argument, point deduction will occur. This goes for the children, as well as adults, and especially spouses.
6.) Anything you make, unless noted otherwise, will need to be carefully saved for judging purposes (and possibly for other items on the hunt).
7.) You may ask for assistance from an adult, but keep in mind that they have the right to refuse. If you do not fully understand a task, you may ask for and receive clarification, but help is entirely at the whim of the person you are asking.
8.) Some items just require being seen to be checked off and receive points. However, if you are under the age of 18, your sighting MUST be verified by an adult. Checking off 'dog in rear windshield' without having it verified by an adult will result in not only forfeiting the possible points, but also deduction of that amount of points from your total. Sighted items require the initials or signature of the adult who verified it (but not necessarily at that very moment, such as asking the driver to sign off on a ‘falling rock’ sign when she is negotiating her way down a mountain). If you cannot get an adult to verify your sighting, you must wait and hope you see the same item again. If you complain about this occurring, you will lose points. (Thompson participants - those in the ‘Lucky Day’ car - operate on the honor system)
9.) If you disagree with the results of judging, suck it up and deal. Keep calm and find something else to do - points CAN and WILL be deducted for whining.
10.) Props: all props must be mad props. (Shout out to UofC ScavHunt!)
And now for the three pre-trip items on the ThackHunt List:
Items That Can Be Completed BEFORE Departing:
1.) Make a sign for your leg of the Thackerson Expedition. Proclaim its’ awesomeness, point out its’ attributes, do it up right. (2-4 points based on creativity, +2 additional points if you include your vehicle’s expedition name)
2.) Using construction paper, make the most realistic paper bacon strips EVER. Glue those to a sign that says "Honk if you love bacon" and display in your expedition vehicle window. (4 points, 2 bonus points if someone actually honks)
3.) Avast, me hearties, your expedition vehicle can also be a pirate vessel. Pick a pirate name for your vehicle and create your own pirate flag. (6 points)
Pre-trip items will be judged on existence and creativity the day of departure (or, in the case of separate expedition vehicles, the day of arrival)
So there you have it, your ThackHunt sneak peek! We will post the entire list the day of departure, when the ThackHunt goes live.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Other than figuring out how to entertain her, there really isn't much left to do. Packing can't really happen until the day before, so I'm currently keeping myself busy (vacation-wise, I mean) by trying to figure out whether or not we're going to have enough room in our car for everything we need. I think we will, but I also have absolutely NO ability to estimate (really, I mean that. No ability whatsoever.), so I don't think we'll know for sure until we actually pack up the car.
It's going to be an amazing trip, though! Can't wait...only 10 days! Hooray!!!!
Monday, May 16, 2011
It takes about 6 hours to get from here to ATL, and then about 4 to get to the cabin in NC from there.A total of 10 hours, though thanks to the time change at the AL/GA state line we'll have to add an hour. I started poking around on Roadside America and looking for anything of interest along our route, and then I found this. I won't lie - I was smitten as soon as I heard the name. So we have a stop to make along the way. :)
The last departure time thrown out for consideration was 2AM...that would put us through ATL around 9AM and to the goats by 11. Lunch & shopping, then the drive to the cabin, we should get in around 2 or 3. There would be strategic sleeping arrangements made before leaving, but it could happen. We'll see. We're debating still.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
This year I wasn't sure what pictures to 'shop into props, and then Dad & Phyllis dropped this little gem into my lap:
Nice, innit? I altered the image to this:
An hour of arts & crafts later, we have this fuzzy picture taken with my cell phone:
We have plans for at least one more - possibly two, but they'll have to be a secret for now.