Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home From Little Rock

Oldest and I made it back from Little Rock yesterday. It's 198 miles one way, and a four hour drive, but I think the time it takes to get there has a lot to do with the speed zones, because it took only a half a tank of gas to get there, and a half a tank to get back. Awesomeness. The drive was tiring, but not tedious. There were a lot of small towns between here and there, so we had plenty of places to stop and rest...aka, use the restroom. lol

I'm not kidding about those speed zones though. I could have been there much quicker, but it's 55 mph for most of the drive through South Arkansas. I was never so glad to hit the interstate, where I could go 65-70 without worrying about a cop stopping me.  Too, when I hit the Louisiana state line coming back, that was a comfort. It's 65 along most of 167 on the LA side.

I was so tired by the time we made it south of Ruston, all I could think about was getting home and flopping on the couch. We went straight to my parent's house to pick up Mini bear, and then came home. The dogs totally flipped out when they saw us, and I had to stop in the doorway to give them hugs and stuff before I could get the bags in and get the house situated.

Hubby told me that first day we were gone, he came home from work and thought the power was out... because the lights were off. LOL He's so used to having the home warm and lit when he gets back, it totally threw him that the house was cold and dark when he got there. I could sympathize, because when we made it through the door it was like that. And let me say, I thought it would be colder in Arkansas, but it was actually warm enough there we had to run the air conditioner in our room.

When I got home, I had to turn on the heat, and get some lights going. The house was cold. And messy, in that "guy clean" kind of way. I did a quick house cleaning, made the bed, swept and Swiffered. Turned on the Christmas tree. And then I flopped on the couch with Mini...and promptly fell asleep.

About forty-five minutes later, I woke up because the phone was ringing. I was pinned down. I'm not kidding.  While I was passed out on the couch, Diva and Sassie piled up on me for a nap, and Mini had curled up behind my legs and was watching TV. I couldn't get to the phone, but oh well. I guess it's safe to say the kidlet and doggies missed me. lol

Once hubby got home, he wanted to hear all about Arkansas. I told him we arrived an hour early. I had called him from the hotel room once I checked in. Oldest sat downstairs in the lobby with the other MEPS people, waiting for the recruiter to show up. I fell across the bed in my room and watched the the History Channel and later, Jurassic Park 3. I went down to check on Oldest, and they were getting ready to go to their assigned rooms and go through the MEPS briefing. I told him to drop by and let me know what room he'd be in, and when they were going to dinner.

I thought about joining Oldest and the others for dinner, but instead, I ordered pizza. Canadian bacon with black olives. Oh, and cinnastix. I sat on the bed and turned on my laptop long enough to update my Facebook and check my emails. Then I did something totally amazing. I turned OFF my computer and put it on the desk. I sat down with a stack of half-read books.

While on my trip, I finished reading Syd Field's Screenwriting, Janet Evanovich's How I Write, and A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe by Cathie Gillen Thacker. By the way, all three of those are very good books.

On day two in Little Rock, I woke up around 5:00 when Oldest came to my door. He and his roommate were getting ready to leave for MEPS and he needed his diploma and birth certificate. He came in and robbed a slice of cold pizza, then left. I went back to bed and slept until 8 before I got up and made coffee. The coffee maker in the room was for a single, and it brewed the coffee right into your Styrofoam cup, so as you can imagine, I was running back and forth, brewing cups of coffee for a while.

I heated up left over cinnastix for breakfast then sat down with a fresh cup of coffee and did some writing until around 3. Oldest arrived around 4pm. He'd taken a cab from the MEPS center and made it back with the good news that he'd passed the test. He'd almost failed his hearing test because he has an ear infection, but we didn't have time to take him to the doctor before leaving home. It's a good thing we didn't, because if he'd been on any kind of medication, he'd have been sent home. So, we lucked out. Oldest passed his physical, and now we wait.

Around 6pm, we went to dinner at the attached restaurant. I had fajitas, and Oldest had a humongous chicken sandwich and fries. Once we went back up to the room, I took a shower, and we settled in for the evening.
He ended up watching Seinfeld, while I did some reading.

Then, yesterday, we got up around 7, and packed up to go home. The traffic was already picking up on the I-40, which was visible from our window. After check out, and once we were on the road, we got caught in the morning rush traffic, and missed our exit to the 65S. Oldest started to panic, but I told him to relax...I'd just spotted a McDonald's. We pulled in for breakfast, and while he ordered, I stood at one of the front windows, watching a 60ish man walking around my car.

The minute we'd pulled into the parking lot, a man pulled up next to us. He stepped out to smoke a cigarette, so we walked on into Mc D's. When I turned around to hold the door open for Oldest, I noticed the man go over and peer in the passenger side window of my car. It was locked, of course, but that still bugged the crap out of me. So, I send Oldest to order, and I stood at the front window of McDonald's with my arms crossed, watching the man. He smoked and paced, smoked and paced. He kept walking in front of my car, then past it, looking in through the windshield, then he'd come back to his car and look over to the McD's window. He'd see me still standing there, then he'd pace away again. He never came inside. After finishing his cigarette, he got in his car and left. I don't know what he was up to, but apparently my standing in the window watching him stopped him from doing it. Freaking creep.

About a half hour later we were back on the road. I gave Oldest the directions, which I had written out on a sheet of paper. I told him to read them off to me, and help me look for the exits. Poor Oldest. Sometimes I don't think he could find a way out of a paper bag. He told me to get off on the next exit to the left, so I did. I knew almost immediately this was wrong. I saw a sign for the airport, and remembered we'd passed that completely on our way in. I sighed. I followed the road on down about a mile, and took the first exit to the right. I saw a gas station and decided to go ahead and fill up.

I ditched the directions after that. I knew we needed to hit the 65S/167S or the I/30/ 530 toward El Dorado. I didn't know what exit that was supposed to be, but that was the plan. Oldest was so nervous, bless him, but I assured him as long as we were headed south, we would be okay. Within 20 minutes, we were out of Little Rock and on our way home. Whew!

Now that we're back home, we have to wait to find out when I have to take Oldest back to Little Rock to be sworn in. Hubby says he wants to go with us for round two, and that would be great if he can get the time off. I told him we could take turns driving. One of us could drive up there, the other back. It would be doable in a day with two drivers. Or maybe we could take the I-40 straight to Oklahoma City for a quick visit with relatives on our way back, then work our way down to Louisiana again. It's a thought.

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