Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Back home.

I'm back home!  After what was probably my most average flight selection, I'm safely down in Blighty.

The week was amazing.  Absolutely fantastic.

Some of the things I took photos of:

I found a Red-Eared Slider.  It was in the pool while I was helping to cleaning out, so I netted it and kept it as a pet for an hour.

I spent a long, long time looking through these Frisbee Golf discs and pondering whether or not I should buy one to bring back home and practise with.  The only problem is that the nearest Frisbee Golf park is Nottingham.  Buh.

And I drove a Porsche!  I was pretty scared and stalled it twice (playing it cool).  I didn't want to floor the thing and take off.

I've got a few more things to upload, but not a lot.  So much happened so quickly that I didn't really think about getting my camera out.  That and for 15 hours over the weekend, I was on the road.  There's not a lot that happens on the road.  Especially in Missouri.

About three days into the trip, I thought to myself "I haven't eaten anything here yet that I can get back home.  I'll have to keep this up."

And keep it up I did.  I ate fantastically.

I had also arranged a lot of things to happen for my wifey while I was away.

Here's a breakdown of our week:

I gave my wifey her old camera with a new battery.  I wanted her to be able to keep a record of what was going on.  I also picked up a laptop for her, wrapped it and hid in in my wardrobe.

I flew over to the States and got stuck in New Jersey for 20 hours.

My wifey went back to my folks' place, had a nap and then got picked up by our friend and brought home in the evening.

I finally got to Arkansas, got picked up by my mother-in-law and went to Sonic.  I wasn't thinking about food until we got there; but I was wanting myself the biggest raspberry sweet tea I could fit my bladder around.  Went back to the house and chilled out before having a rack of ribs from Chili's.

My wifey had a small shift at work in the morning, followed by two good friends coming over in the evening - one making a delicious dinner and the other staying the night and watching girly films and doing girly stuff like talking about pink things.

I started the day with Cap'n Crunch and went into town with my mother-in-law.  Picker up by a friend, we went back to his and had pancakes before sauntering round the mall, dropping in on another friend and checking out some thrift stores.  Lil' Grandma picked me up for lunch and we went to a place called Western Sizzlin' - a big, all you can eat buffet place.  When we go there, I get the healthy stuff out of the way and have a little salad to start; then I go back and pile up a plate with as many different meats as I can fit.  I call it the meat plate.  I got home to some pizza and then went to bed in preparation for the weekend.

My wifey got up to our friend making her a huge breakfast.  They chilled out and chatted and had a great morning.  I had gone out earlier in the week to hide some stickers around the town so that I could write up a treasure hunt.  It went better than I thought it would!  Eight out of the nine that I put up were still there.  Wonderful!  My wifey went around the town finding these things and then got home for a nap.  That night, another friend came over and they spent the night chatting and having a great time.  (Until my wifey sort of poisoned our lactose-allergic friend and she had to go home).

Most of my Saturday was on the road.  I ate snacks and drank water.  We got to central Missouri after about eight hours on the road and met up with my brother-in-law and his family.  We went to a place called Bonkers - like Wacky Warehouse or a grown-up version of the playstations in McDonald's stores.  If I had known we were allowed on, I'd have brought my jogging pants.  Jeans are a little uncomfortable on things like that.  Probably a good thing.  I took it easy.  We went back to their flat and I stayed the night on their couch (after watching the Nitro Circus documentary and a few episodes of Adventure Time on Netflix).

My wifey had a lie in and then met up with a friend from Southport who had come up for the day.  They spent the day going round town and round the park and then went out to eat for lunch.  In the evening, one of the friends from Thursday came round and spent the evening with my wifey.

After a few hours in Missouri, we headed home.  On our way, we went to the World's Largest Gift Store (which wasn't particularly fruitful.  You'd have thought I could have found something I'd have liked in a place like that, but no.  Nothing), the Candy Factory (which was great) and Arby's (another American fast food place.  We nearly went to McDonald's - because we were on the road - but I persuaded my Granny-in-law to go to an American place).  That was about it for Sunday.  We got home and chilled out.  Driving isn't a huge things in America because it's so spread out, but I had covered more ground that weekend than I think any of my friends will in the rest of this year.

My wifey went to church and stayed for the dedication of the baby of two of our friends.  There was cake and everything.  After that, she went with another friend to get some lunch and had a chilled out afternoon before heading to bed.

I helped my father-in-law clean the pool, rescued a turtle, caught up with a neighbour, went to lunch with my Grandma and then stopped off at some friends' place.  While we were there, we went fishing and I shot a frying pan.  I had some proper southern-cooked shrimp and when I got home there was a bit of fried chicken waiting in the fridge.  A good day.

My wifey met up with the girl whose baby was dedicated the day before.  They went to a pretty nice Italian place and got some proper nice-looking grub.  In the evening, we had a small group meeting - a small group of peers from church that meet every other week.  It was the day before Saint George's Day, so one of the girls there made cupcakes.

I went to the Immigration Office to be told that the gentleman at customs was wrong, walked around the strip mall for a few hours - I visited a sports store, book store, cafe.  It was nice.  I went to lunch with a friend and talked photography, hunting and life.  We both had a Monte Cristo - a turkey, ham and chicken sandwich that's deep fried, dusted with sugar and served with jam.  Freakin' delicious.  He dropped me off on the other side of town so I could get some shoes and supplies for the way home.  I walked to SweetBay - a little independent coffee store that a friend works at.  I had the most chocolatey, mint shake and caught up with him for a bit.  Another friend came to say hey.  The last time I saw him was before his deployment to Afghanistan, so it was nice to see him.  Then I went to the new house of a couple of friends who are also expecting their first baby.  It was great to see them and catch up.  Then it was home time and time to pack.

It was my wifey's birthday!  I was really sad to miss it but really happy that everything I had planned had gone well.  My mum came and met her and took her out to lunch before dropping her back off at home.  The night, all the friends from the week came round and had a party.  I'd recorded a message that they played and then I got the girls to give my wifey the presents that I'd left with them.  Around this time, I was at SweetBay, so I was able to see all of this going on through Facebook as they updated it.  That was nice.  It felt like I was a lot closer to her than I was.  They partied and chatted and laughed until the early hours.

I set off home.  My first flight was delayed, so they put me on a different one so I could make my connection.  On the second one, so eager were the staff to fill seats with standby passengers, my seat was allocated to someone else.  After 40 minutes of sorting this out (I have no idea how it took that long), I was able to sit down and the 'plane left.  We got to Newark 15 minutes after my third flight should have left, but because it was the same company, they called ahead and held the flight for me.  I legged it to my last 'plane to find that they'd allocated my seat to someone else.  Again.  So they put me in business class.  Or Economy plus - I don't know.  Either way, I wasn't complaining.

My wifey went back to my folks' house and spent the day there playing on her new laptop.  That was it!  She'd had a great week and I knew she'd be back in Southport with my parents, so I hadn't arranged anything more.  It was a long day for her, but she had fun.

I landed on time and met my wifey at the airport.  It was so good to see her again after a whole week away!  It's the longest time we've ever been apart since getting married and I don't want to do it again any time soon.

I need to do some work now, though.


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