Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Little Getaway

This past week I took some time to get away from home for a little bit and visit with my in-laws up in Virginia.  My mother-in-law had asked me several times if I'd like to visit, starting immediately after my husband left on his deployment.  After we found out in May that his time in the sandbox would be extended another month, I decided to take my MIL up on her offer to spend some time at her house to give myself a much deserved and needed summer/mid-deployment vacation, and then began working lots of extra hours throughout June to build up comp time so I wouldn't have to use any of my annual leave hours.

I left after work last Monday and drove a few hours that evening to break up the drive a little bit, eventually staying in a hotel in North Carolina with my pups.  As always, my dogs were very happy to ride in the car and get to see other people.

The last couple times they went on a long car ride and stayed in a hotel, they got to see their daddy, and I actually got the feeling after we were at the hotel for a few hours that they were expecting to get to see him again.  Our dogs are very expressive, and my husband and I have learned quite a bit about how to tell what they're thinking or feeling based on their facial expressions, body language, and sounds they make.  Thankfully they both perked right back up the next day when I arrived at my MIL's house and they got to see more people they know, as well as meet some new friends who enjoyed giving Kiba belly rubs (Saki received head massages).

For the 4th, our whole crew got together to partake in the usual Independence Day traditions of eating tons and tons of food and then going to see a fireworks show at a local park nearby.  We had toyed with the idea of heading to Washington, D.C. to see the big fireworks show, but quickly decided that we really did not want to deal with the headache of being surrounded by thousands of people at the National Mall, not to mention the traffic of trying to get in and then back out of the city.

During our get-together, I ended up having a little emotional break down, when someone jokingly made a comment about my dogs that struck a nerve and resulted in me crying profusely over missing my husband so much.  I'm pretty sure I freaked out just about everyone there, until they realized that while I did not care for the comment that was made, my crying actually wasn't about the comment itself but rather something deeper.  After talking about it with my mother-in-law, she then started to basically beg me to quit my job, leave my apartment, and move in with her for the remainder of my husband's deployment so I won't be alone any longer.  Aside from the many logistical problems that would make moving difficult, it wouldn't do anything to fix the underlying issue of needing to be with my husband.

On Thursday, my MIL decided to take me into into the city, since my only real exposure to DC was when I flew into the city several years ago to interview for a job in VA.  We spent a couple hours there, walking around to see most of the monuments and memorials in the area.

FDR Memorial

MLK Jr. Memorial ; View of Jefferson Memorial from MLK Jr. Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Federal Reserve Building

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Reflecting Pool (empty for construction) & the Washington Monument

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial
Tidal Basin, from in front of the Jefferson Memorial

After the long walk circling the around all of these memorials in the 100+ degree heat, we decided to retreat to the car and then drove around the rest of the National Mall, past all of the museums so I could then ultimately see the Capitol and the White House from the comfort of our air conditioned vehicle.

We had decided to have a girls' night that evening and after having dinner as a family at Bonefish, the guys went their own way and the five of us girls went to the movies to see Magic Mike.  None of us expected much out of the movie, however we were hoping for at least a little more from it than was there.  If you haven't seen it but are interested in seeing Channing Tatum show his moves from his earlier real life stripper days (which are actually pretty good), then I would recommend hitting up your local Redbox kiosk after the movie is released on DVD.

The most memorable part of the movie for me was during the 4th of July strip club scene, after the guys started dancing on stage wearing camo pants & combat boots, when my mother-in-law whispered to me that I should have my husband dance/strip like that for me when he returns home.  Definitely not a comment I expected my husband's step-mom to make to me!

On Saturday we drove up to Maryland to visit with my MIL's cousin and meet her family.  After overloading on yummy appetizers and Chinese food, we then went out to this little park area in the middle of their neighborhood to view a wonderful fireworks show that was put on for the neighborhood residents.

This little neighborhood show was seriously wonderful.  Definitely better than the local city show we went to see on the 4th!

Other highlights of the trip included finding a new addiction after trying Nutella for the first time ever (and instantly regretting not trying it sooner!), visiting a local winery and doing a wine tasting (I love me some good wine), and making a lot of progress on the current book I am reading, Fifty Shades of Grey.  After hearing all of the buzz about it about a month or two ago, I decided to download the first book on my iPad and give it a read.  I've gone back and forth a bit about whether or not to read it while hubby is gone, as I've heard often that you'll want to have your husband around after you're done with it, but recently decided to just continue through and finish up the book, as I'm very curious to see how the relationship between Ana and Christian develops.

I made the 8.5 hour drive home on Sunday, driving straight thru except to make pit stops for me and the dogs along the way.  It surprisingly wasn't too bad of a trip to make in a single stretch.  The dogs were very well behaved and slept for most of the drive home.  While driving through the Richmond area in VA, I found an amazing radio station that plays all of my favorite alternative songs/artists from the 90's thru to now (I enjoyed it so much, I made a note of the station number so I could pull it up to listen to online while at work or home).  And then I got really excited when I had to stop for gas in South Carolina and filled up my tank for the cheapest I've gotten gas in many months...

$3.13/gallon for premium gas!  I was really jealous of the people whose cars don't require premium, as regular gas was $2.85/gallon.  But I'll take what I can get!  I've been paying around $3.50 around where I live lately, and the last time I got anything less than that was when I was in middle GA last month and filled up for $3.27 while I was on base at Robins AFB for a bit.

The dogs were both completely exhausted after we got home and slept amazingly well Sunday night.

They were so tired that I actually had to wake them up to feed them their dinner that night, and usually Kiba starts bugging me each night about 15 minutes before dinnertime in hopes that she'll get food early.  As for me, I'm still recovering from being on the go so much last week and the trip home, but I hope to be feeling better rested within this next day or so.

Overall, it was a really nice trip.  I only wish I had gotten to spend some more quality time with my brother-in-law and his fiancée, as unfortunately a lot of their time was accounted for with wedding planning appointments they had scheduled.  Thankfully we're working out plans to get together at some point in the next month or two.

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