Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thirty by 30--Update for November 2011

Update for end of November: I managed to get a few more things knocked off the list this month. Woo Hoo!

 Today marks the beginning of the last year of my twenties.  Today, I am 29.  In approximately 365 days, I will be 30.  Gosh, I feel old. 

So, to commemorate the last year of my youth my twenties, I've created a list of 30 things that I want to accomplish by exactly one year from today.  My Thirtieth birthday. . . OMG, that sounds strange.  Real strange.

Here goes. . . .

1. Graduate with my Bachelor's Degree from college--after that's typed out I realize how odd and ill timed it looks.  I'm slow at finishing what I start. . don't you know this by now?
2. Go to Great Wolf Lodge--this is a GREAT water park that's fairly close by and I think Ty would really enjoy it!
3. Visit the 17th Street Farmer's Market
4. Try to wakeboard
5. Build a piece of furniture
6. Refinish a dresser
7. Go to Busch Gardens
8. Go to a baseball game
9. Attend a football game at my University
10. Go apple picking
11. Take a hayride
12. Go camping
13. Eat a deep fried oreo
14. Finish decorating (or redecorating?) my bedroom
15. Have a girls night
16. Visit the James Center at Christmas to see the lights
17. Play in the snow (if we get any!)
18. Take Ty to Starbucks on a Fall morning--one of our favorite past times!
19. Go fishing with Ty
20. Go on a hike
21. Go to a fair
22. Volunteer to read a book to Ty's class
23. Eat lunch with Tyler at school
24. Plant a garden
25. Go to a concert--I'm going to cheat and include a musical into this category.
26. Try a new Richmond restaurant
27. Volunteer @ a community outreach event
28. Go sledding
29. Visit a museum
30. Visit a winery

Some of these are things that I've never done, but would like to do, and some are things that I have done but really enjoy doing and want to do more of. 

I'll try to post an update every couple of months or so to keep track of what kind of progress I've made toward my goal. 

What about you?  Do you have a bucket list of sorts?  Share something from it! 

Let's Bzz!

As some of you might recall, I'm part of the BzzAgent panel program.  It's an AWESOME program where they send me products to try out and I talk to my friends and family about them.  In this case, they sent me a package of Kroger brand Chocolate Chip cookies.  Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies?  Well, these cookies are no exception!  They are awesome!  BIG, loaded with chocolate chips, and have a distinct buttery taste that I haven't found in many other brands of packaged cookies, let alone a store brand! 

If you live near a Kroger or a Kroger brand store, you need to try to get your hands on a package of these cookies!  They're actually called "The Truly Awesome" brand! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More Changes. . . .

Sorry for the constant visual confusion.  I just had to make yet another change to the formatting of the blog.  I have zero design ability, as was evident in my last re-org attempt.  I have decided against the brashy (is that even a word?) bright colors that were a result of having the picture of my little dude as the header and then the bright colors that were sprinkled throughout the rest of the page.  It just made my eyes hurt everytime I looked at it.  Until I can talk myself into laying out the money to have someone design a nifty header and page layout for me, I've decided to simplify things a bit, remove the image of the lil'dude and go with a more neutral (i.e. eye saving) color palate.  Hopefully, I'll log on more without wanting to vomit at the rainbow mixture of color that I was met with in the old design. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Once the Weekend Actually Got Started. . . .

Once we got past all of the bumps in the road (yeah, I see the irony) in the very beginning of our trip, we actually got to enjoy some really great weather and experiences.  Rather than narrate every little thing that we did, I'll let the pictures do the talking with minimal explanation from me. 

This was all I needed to get my morning started off right!

So, we packed up a picnic and headed out for an adventure!

The views were absolutely amazing!  We drove out to Fort Fisher and literally stopped by the road to find a spot for our picnic.  Beautiful weather, beautiful views, and a great packed lunch!

The weather was great!  Not too hot, not too cold.  Just perfect!

A picture of the little ham and myself.  

This next series of photos is actually funny!  I had told Ty that he needed to really watch his food because a Seagull might come down and grab it from him if he's not careful.  Thankfully, I had my camera handy to capture this:

 He's nervous about a seagull taking his food. . . .

So, he makes faces at the seagulls to persuade them to stay away. . .

He yells at them to stay away. . . .

And lastly, gives them the "Don't Mess With ME!" glare!

This picture also made me giggle!  Tyler's Dad was messing around with him and I got the picture at the exact right time.  No, neither one of us hits our kid!

We decided to hop on the ferry to go over to Southport, NC.  We didn't know anything about the place but saw a little flier about it that someone had left behind in the beach house.  Plus, the ferry was only $5.  We figured that was a small price to pay for the fact that Ty would think it was super cool to drive our car onto a boat and ride around. 

Ty loved the ferry!  He loved looking at all of the birds and sights surrounding us. 

I have to admit, it was a gorgeous view!

The visitor's center in Southport.  This place is seriously the small little beach towns that you read about in Nicholas Sparks' novels.  Or maybe I just read too much.  Sappy love stories. 

Seriously. . such a cute small little town!  There were shops everywhere. 

Like this one.  A Christmas Tree shop.  Awesome!

A Candy Shop and Toy Shop in one = Child's Dream!

A big fish fountain

I got lots of these that day!

OMG. . I saw these in the Candy Shop and didn't think they could possibly be real.  I was wrong.  I don't even think Katie Bower's crazy love for bacon would have tempted her enough to eat these.  Or maybe I'm wrong? 

Bacon's not your thing?  No worries, they come in other flavors too.  Eww. . .gross!

Seriously. . .this place was just too cute!

I saw these two sitting in the swing and I just couldn't help myself.  And no, they don't know that there was a crazy stalker-azzi taking their picture from behind. 

Bright idea kid--put your head inside of a croc's mouth. . .

then wrestle the croc!

What mother doesn't love an ice cream covered smiley face?

It was bliss!  If you ever get a chance to go to Southport, NC, you MUST go!  It was very fun and I can't wait to go back. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday: The Grown Up Edition

Today is Thursday.  Thanksgiving.  The Day of Thanks.  I've actually been working on this post for almost 2 weeks now.  I have been reflecting on those things that I have in my life that I'm thankful for and I have really been realizing how incredibly blessed I am.  Despite the trials and tribulations that I may experience in life, I have alot to be Thankful for.  So, here is my list of things that I'm giving thanks for today (and everyday!):

  • First and foremost, I'm thankful that I have a beautiful, healthy, intelligent, funny, sweet and just overall precious little boy who I am blessed to call me "Mom" everyday.  I love that little boy more than words could ever express and he makes my heart want to explode on a regular basis.  Sometimes, he makes my head want to explode, but my heart feels it much more!
  • I am Thankful that I have been able to hold it together during this last year.  I have gone through alot and somehow I've managed to keep it all together. 
  • I am Thankful that I have two parents (four if you include my step parents who are equally as great!) who support me in the decisions that I make and they stand by me throughout life.  I have been blessed that my parents have raised me to be a stronger individual than I even realize at times. 
  • I am thankful that said parents (see above) have the means to financially protect me from some very scary things that could happen if ever the time came that I could not financially care for myself and my son.  Being a single mom is terrifying for me in the money department.  There have been times that I have really questioned whether I was going to be able to do it.  Just knowing that my parents are there to help me if I ever needed it has made this whole process so much better.  I'm truly Thankful that the thought of ever having to live on the streets (I'm a drama queen, okay?!) isn't something I have to realistically think about. 
  • I'm thankful that I have a job doing what I love to do and one that allows me to live a decent life.  I do not live a glamorous life by any means but I feel so blessed to have a full time job that at least allows me to pay my basic bills.  So many single mothers do not have this advantage and they find themselves working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. 
  • I'm thankful for a boss who supports me both professionally and personally.  I don't think she realizes just how awesome I think she is and how much I look up to her. 
  • I'm thankful that my son has an active and involved father.  He can be a total poo-head in the relationship (or even friend) department but he's a great father to our son.  Our son has two very active and involved parents who love him more than life itself.  I follow several blogs of other single moms who, unfortunately, do not have the same level of fatherly involvement for their children.  While it can DEFINITELY be a huge pain in the rear to have to coordinate every.little.thing regarding my son with his father (who insists on being involved in every.little.thing), it's good for my son and he needs it.  So, I bite my tongue and deal with it. 
  • I'm thankful for my girlfriends who love me unconditionally.  They lift me up when I am down and they make me drink when I need to forget about what made me down!  Kidding. . .kind of.  My friends are so much fun to be around and I love them and am so Thankful that they put up with me. 
  • I'm thankful for my blog followers who make this experience so much richer than it would be if I posted out to dead space.  My readers give me inspiration and support to keep going even when I have fallen off track for a little bit. 
  • I am so thankful that I found a way to stay in school and will be finishing my degree in May 2012!  Yay!  When my ex and I split, I initially thought that I would have to quit school.  But, I was committed to finishing what I had started as it meant so much to me personally and it will allow me to pursue more options professionally.  So, I adopted a "make it work" approach.  I also have to admit that my ex has been fabulous about coordinating my school schedule with me and he really does his part to take care of our son while I'm in school.  He definitely deserves some credit here because without his support both before and after our split, I don't think I could have done it. 
  • I'm thankful to God for showing me strength in those times that I don't think I have any.  I'm a stronger woman than I ever realized.  I learn so much about myself and life everyday and I'm blessed to be who I am. 
On this day of Thanks, what are you Thankful for?  I want to wish everyone a Happy & Safe Thanksgiving!  I hope you are all spending this day with the ones closest to you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yummy Yummy in my. . .err. . . Crock Pot

Being a single mom who works full time and goes to school part time, I'm all about any meal that tastes like I spent all day preparing it but took me literally minutes to get everything done.  If you're like me and secretly carry on a slightly inappropriate relationship with your Crock Pot, you need to try this recipe! 

Sadly, I don't have any step by step pictures. . .but that's because there are only a couple of steps!  Seriously!

Here's what you need:

1-1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat
1 can French Onion soup
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
salt (I used course sea salt)
pepper (I prefer the grinder kind)
chopped onion (I use the dried chopped stuff but you could use fresh onions that have been diced finely)

Here's what you gotta do:

Combine first three ingredients in your crock pot and stir it up.  Toss in some of the chopped onion (I just eyeballed it) and sprinkle salt and pepper in (if you are concerned about using too much, you could always leave it out and just season after cooked and served).  Turn CrockPot on low and cook for 8-10 hours. 

That's it!  Easy peasy!  I just served mine over some rice that I was able to make quickly but you could serve it over wide egg noodles or even mashed potatoes.  The flavor is excellent and it was SOOO super easy to make! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Truth About my Ex. . .or whatever it is that he is

The truth of the matter is, this post is very hard for me to write.  While I really truly enjoy sharing my life with all of you readers, there are some things that I just don't like to share.  Not because I'm all that private, I'm really kind of an open book.  More because it's hard to put into words what you don't understand yourself.  So, in this post, I've done what I can to put my relationship status into words. 

My ex (because I don't really know what else to call him) or BD (short for "Baby Daddy") and I were together for almost 8 years, engaged for over five years but never did make it down the aisle.  It was a very up and down relationship for pretty much all of those 8 years.  We're both stubborn and opinionated people who don't really know how to comprimise. . .a combination which doesn't mix well in a relationship.  Essentially, when it was good between us, it was GREAT and when it was bad, it was REALLY BAD.  Anyways, we talked many times about going our seperate ways over the course of those 8 years but just never did.  For whatever reason, we stuck it out.  Of course, we had our beautiful son during that time so that made the relationship take on an entirely different flavor.  Instead of making decisions for what was best for us, we began making decisions that I think were clouded by what we thought was best for Ty.  Anyways, the fact that we were parents seemed to make it more difficult to make a decision and stick to it. 

Over the last couple of years, our relationship really seemed to slide downhill for several reasons.  One of those reasons was because instead of fighting for our relationship anymore, I just kind of "gave up".  I guess I kind of adopted this approach of "if he's going to act this way or that way, he's going to pay the consequences".  I didn't mean it in a dominating way, I had just spent so much time fighting to keep our relationship on the right course and I guess I realized after a while that he didn't put as much energy into it.  Therefore, I just kind of started sitting back and letting nature take its course.  I guess I knew long before it happened what was going to actually happen. 

Despite the fact that I had seemingly "mellowed out" in his eyes (because I wasn't constantly fighting with him about this or that), didn't mean that things weren't as bad as they had always been.  In fact, in many ways, they were worse.  Rather than actually talking about our issues (or yelling. . .depends on who you ask), I was internalizing alot more.  I was angry and hurt and feeling hopeless but I was doing it all silently.  BD has this very self centered approach to the way he lives his life: as long as he is happy, he can't understand why anyone else would have any problems with anything.  He's not willing to engage in conversation about anything unless he also sees it as a problem.  So, his problem was that he felt like I was always yelling at him.  Therefore, we had talks about that.  Once I stopped yelling at him, we stopped having talks.  He got what he wanted.  But, I still wasn't happy.  He was, so there was nothing to discuss.  In his mind.  In mine, our relationship was continuing to dissolve right before my eyes. 

In April of this year, I finally hit my breaking point.  I begged him to move out of the house that I had purchased a year earlier.  Literally, a sobbing tearful me collapsed into a pile on my living room floor and begged him to just move out and  not make me stay in this relationship anymore.  That's another thing about BD. . .he would NEVER have been the one to break off the relationship.  He would rather live for the rest of his life in an unhappy relationship than to be the one to shoulder the responsibility for actually breaking things off.  That became abundantly clear to me and I knew I had to be the one to break it off if it was going to be done.  True to form, he still reminds me that I'm the one who broke it off any chance he gets.  Anyways, he moved out that month and I thought I would start figuring out how to live my life as a single mom and move forward in life.  Yeah. . .I had another thing coming.

Like I've said before, when things were good with us, they were really good.  BD is a great guy.  Everyone loves him, he has tons of friends, he's hilarious to be around, and he has a heart of gold.  If you're not his partner.  When you're his partner, he's still a great guy, he's just got some fatal flaws.  For instance, he has zero ability to comprimise or even attempt to see things from someone else's point of view.  When you're a friend, that's not quite as big of a deal.  You kind of agree to disagree and move on.  When you're his partner and the mother of his child, that doesn't work as well.  It was like we were in this constant power struggle.  However, when we were in two seperate houses, the power struggle issue seemed to even out.  He's in charge of his domain and I'm in charge of mine.  We're both happy.  We started getting along better than I think we have in eight years.  We started communicating better and have over the last 6 months, tried to figure out if/how we were going to be able to reconcile and come back together.  Afterall, things have been great off and on for the last 6 months. 

However, I have some serious serious doubts.  One of BD's biggest issues has been the way I talk to him.  He feels that, at times, I'm to controlling and that I speak down to him.  He laid out a specific way that he wants us to communicate.  So, over the last few months, I've tried very hard to do just that.  I've tried to make him happy.  Problem is, apparently, he doesn't feel he should play by the same rules.  When he gets angry or frustrated, he talks to me in whatever tone and manner he chooses.  Now, Rome wasn't built in a day, right?  Any positive change is going to take time.  So, I try to see past the emotions which are driving the behavior and I attempt to talk about it.  I point out that he doesn't like being spoken to that way, so why should I be subjected to the same thing?  He doesn't see it that way.  He sees it that I've pissed him off and therefore, I caused him to act that way.  Yeah, you see the same problem I do?  Here's another one for you: I think in the entire 8 years we've been together, I could count on one hand the number of times this guy has ever apologized to me for anything.  He not only lacks the ability to see where he has wronged, it's like the words "I'm sorry" or "I was wrong" are completely absent from his vocabulary.  So, when he's done something to make me mad or hurt my feelings, I don't even get an apology for it.  He's actually told me that I need to "move past it" before when I have asked for an apology.  Are you flipping kidding me? 

I guess the reason that I write this post is because I recognize that the presence of my son's father in some of the pictures that I post may be misleading or confusing.  Trust me, it's misleading and confusing to me too at times!  What I want to express to you is that I'm trying to sort out my crazy life right now and I'm trying to find the strength to make the right decisions and until I do that, there may be what seems like a back-and-forth presence of my son's father.  I honestly don't know how to refer to him.  At this point, he's not really my ex but he's not really my boyfriend either.  I just don't feel that our relationship is strong enough to call him my boyfriend but there's still more relationship existing than I have with an ex.  I guess we're kind of like ghosts: stuck between two worlds. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Goals Update--weekend of 11/18

Here's the update on my weekend goals:

  • Clean my house--it's awful!  Seriously.
  • Wash, Dry, Fold, & put away laundry
  • Get some blog posts written and scheduled for posting
  • Work on the office--yes, I'm still working on that one little room.  Ugh!--I'm not sure this room will ever get finished!  Maybe during the two weeks off that I have for Christmas?
  • Take Ty to Lowes Build & Grow on Saturday
  • Go to Bass Pro shops to see Santa on Sunday--this item has been postponed until a later time in which his father can join us.  He freaked out when I told him that I might be taking Ty to see Santa.  He didn't want me to do it without him.  Whatever.
  • Start packing for our trip next week
  • Write out Xmas list (Black Friday shopping next week!)--I'm going to do this on my way down to visit BD family this week for Thanksgiving.
  • Type paper for school--yeah, this too
  • Clip coupons (I'm like 6 weeks behind on inserts which equals total disaster)--they are all clipped but now they need to be organized.  Ugh!
  • Send steam cleaner back for warranty repair
  • Take Ty to see Happy Feet 2--this has been postponed simply because there was no time. 
  • Put Thanksgiving decorations outside--yes, the inside is decorated.  Outside, notsomuch.
  • Old Navy for coat for me
  • Southern States for dog food and some other stuff
Other things that I managed to accomplish:

  • Got the wireless router hooked up in the office.  Up until now, I've either been stealing borrowing wireless from a neighbor (hey, you leave your wireless network unlocked. . I might hop in and join you every now and then) or miserably tethered to the ethernet cable in the office.  Now, I'm able to work from anywhere in my house!
  • Got Tyler's room cleaned and organized--this goes beyond just cleaning the house.  That kid's room needed an overhaul!  We cleaned out every basket, bin, and box.  We organized and threw away TWO trashbags full of old, broken, or misplaced toys. 
  • I got all halloween decorations packed up and put back in the attic
  • Organized clothing for next women's clothing consignment sale into appropriate bins and got them put up in the attic. 
  • I started getting the new hardware put on the drawers in my kitchen.  I had the cabinets repainted a few months ago and decided that I wanted to change out the hardware.  Look for a later post on this transformation!
I'm sure there is more, I just don't have it jotted down yet.  I'll add anything else that I managed to get done over the weekend to the update post. 

You Cannot Seriously Be Serious! Part Two

Yes, there's a part two.  Because only having a Part one wouldn't be sufficient enough.   My motto is "Go Big or Go Home".  And that's just what I was about to do when we got to the beach house.  Turn around and go home. 

By time we made it to the beach house after the unexpected side of the road detour that we made, it was almost 1:00 a.m.  Since there are only visitors to the house every other month or so, we have the water and heat/AC turned off when we're not there.  So standard ritual when we first get there involves turning the water on and getting everything flowing.  Yeah. . .I should have known that I was in for an unpleasant surprise.  As soon as I turned on the water, I heard BD shouting frantically "Turn it off, Turn it off, TURN IT OFF!". 

Apparently, when the water first turned on, he heard a spitting sound coming from behind the washing machine.  He went over to the water valve behind the washer and attempted to turn the water off at the problem.  It didn't turn out so well.  The valve was so corroded that it literally broke off in his hand. 

Oh the four letter words that were running through my head.  I was SO tired and dealing with a plumbing problem was the abolute.last.thing. I wanted to deal with.  Instead of breaking down in tears (which is what I wanted to do), I just turned off the water to the entire house and went to bed.  I was defeated and figured we'd just deal with it in the morning.  Afterall, how hard of a fix could it possibly be?  I would live to regret that thought.

The next morning, we got up, ate breakfast and BD ran out to Lowes to get the parts that he thought he needed to fix the problem.  I didn't care what he did, I just wanted it fixed so I could take a shower.  And flush the toilet.  Again, I was seriously thankful that BD was at the house with me so that I at least had some help to deal with this problem.  Plumbing isn't necessarily his thing but he'll work on any problem until he can get it figured out so I knew he would be able to get it fixed. 

Once he came back with the parts he was going to need to fix the problem, BD got to work.  He had been working for about an hour when he came and told me that I needed to call my mom.  He said he was going to need to cut into the wall to get to the pipes that he thought were the problem (he was convinced that the pipes were leaking down into the interior of the wall--bad news) and he didn't want to do that without at least talking to her about it first. 

Of course, my Mom told us to do whatever we needed to do in order to get it fixed.  She just didn't want us in a house for three days with no running water.  And she certainly didn't want a leak to continue that was leaking down the inside of the walls!  So, with that, BD started cutting a hole into the wall. 

Once he got a hole cut into the wall, he explained to me that what he saw wasn't what he was expecting.  At that point, I wasn't sure if that was good news or bad news. 

Of course, I could see the water damage that the leaking pipe had done to the interior of the wall but aside from that, I wasn't sure what exactly it was that he was expecting to see.  He explained to me that the way that the pipe was connected to the valve wasn't something that could be undone and fixed.  What did that mean?  It meant that he was going to have to cut the pipe off of the valve and replace the entire pipe.  And he didn't have the parts necessary for that job.  So, back to Lowes he went.  About two hours later, he was back with more parts.  Back to work he went.

So, he worked for a couple more hours and seemed like he was making progress.  In fact, he had new valves installed and had reconnected the plumbing.  At about 6:30 p.m., he asked me to go turn on the water again.  B-A-D NEWS!  As soon as I turned on the water, he started screaming for me to turn it back off.  When I walked back into the kitchen, I saw that he was soaked, the floor was soaked, the washing machine was soaked, and the wall (including the cut out part) was completely soggy.  Yeah, the water had been on for about 3 seconds total.  Clearly, we still had a huge problem.  So after throwing around almost every four letter word that the two of us knew, we got back to work trying to figure out what the problem was.  BD indicated that he thought he was going to have to cut deeper into the wall.  And that's just what he did.  Cut a bigger hole. 

Once a bigger hole was cut, he realized that this problem was much bigger than he had initially thought.  It was going to require a complete replacement of the pipe.  That meant more tools and materials that we didn't have.  For the third time in one day, BD was making a trip to Lowes.  But this time, Ty and I went with him.  Off to Lowes we went.  Again.  The greatest (read the sarcasm.  It's dripping right here.) part is that Lowes didn't have all of the materials that we needed.  Great, it's almost 8:00 at night and I'm being told that after working on this problem that I may need to pack up the car and head the five hours back to Richmond (at this point, we still can't shower, make coffee, or flush a toilet) all because Lowes doesn't have all of the materials?  Fabulous.  The guy at Lowes was trying to be helpful and called over to Home Depot to see if they had the items that we needed.  They did, but they were also across town which meant that we were going to end up about 30 minutes away from the beach house.  What choice did we have?  This woman needed a shower!  So, off to Home Depot we went to get the rest of the materials that we were going to need in order to fix the problem. 

By time we got back to the beach house, it was almost 9:30, and we still hadn't eaten dinner.  We had picked up a pizza on the way back and Tyler quickly ate before heading off to bed.  Thankfully, he didn't need a bath before bed!  Once Ty was in bed, BD and I got busy.  Not like that!  Busy working on getting this darn plumbing issue fixed. 

It took a couple more hours but we finally. . .FINALLY. . .got the darn thing fixed.  It was nearly the stroke of 2 a.m. when BD told me to turn on the water to the house and, thankfully, didn't scream (or stomp--we had to adapt our communication method after Ty went to sleep) for me to turn it back off.  I nearly passed out from exhaustion and exhilaration that we were done.  Or maybe I almost passed out from smelling my own stink all day?  Who knows.  Either way, the water was fixed.  FIXED! 

And I think Mom will be happy when she sees that the washer totally disguised the hole that BD had to cut in order to fix the problem.

After that was done, all I wanted (aside from a shower) was to sleep and enjoy my trip to the beach.  Luckily, I got to do just that the next day. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

You Cannot Seriously Be Serious!

As you know, we were taking off and heading to the beach last weekend.  There is a whole list of things that I'm grateful for and one of them is my mom's beach house.  In my eyes, this is the best purchase that my mother has ever made.  Especially since I get to enjoy it pretty much any.time.I.want!  So, I try to get down there as often as possible.  It has come to represent an oasis for me.  A place to get away and de-stress.  To pretend that "normal" life like jobs, bills, school, and responsibility don't exist.  A breath of fresh air. 

Well, that breath of fresh air came to a startling halt on Thursday night while I was on my way down.  As I was driving along the highway in North Carolina, I heard a strange sound.  It sounded like I had run over something in the road.  Only there was no thump to indicate that I had actually run over something.  At first, I ignored it thinking that I was hearing things.  Or, that maybe Ty had made a noise from the backseat.  Then, I heard it again.  My son's father (who was also on the trip with us--long story--I might tell you later) heard it too.  I looked at him.  He looked at me.  I said "What the. . . .?"  He was silent.  Instead, he thought for a moment (literally, just a second) and then nearly jumped into my lap in order to peer down at the instrument panel on the dashboard.  Half a second later he screams "PULL OVER RIGHT NOW!" and then quietly adds "safely".  Uh. . .yeah, sure.  I'll get right on that.

I swiftly pulled across three lanes of the interstate and immediately came to a stop.  I had no idea what was going on but when I got out of my car, this is what I found:

In case you're wondering, that's a flat tire.  A VEERRRRY flat tire.  Oh freaks.  It's 10:30 at night, I'm literally halfway between Virginia and North Carolina and the freakin tire is gushing air like a lovesick middle schooler gushes about her first kiss.  This was the first time (oh yes, there were more) that I literally looked heavenward and thanked God that my son's father was with us on this trip.  At the very least, he knows how to change a tire.  And that's just what he got to doing. 

While he changed the tire, I jumped around trying to stay warm (it is November, afterall!), trying to calm down (the adrenaline rush was quite the problem), and trying to keep a man company who would have rather just been left alone to finish changing a tire that he never wanted to change in the first place. 

This is what a six year old looks like when he wakes up from a traveling nap and the car is on the side of the road and nobody else but you and the dogs are in it.  Needless to say, we weren't aware he was awake until we heard his disoriented cries for us.  Poor little guy!  Once I explained to him what was going on, he was fine.  Actually, he just wanted to listen to music on my phone. 

And this is what a naughty pit bull looks like when he jumps over two rows of seats to get a better view from the passengers seat.  Naughty Pete!  

Once we got the tire changed and the spare put on, I learned a valuable lesson: It is very important to make sure that you have a spare tire which is properly inflated at all times.  My spare was seriously low on air so once we got it on the car, we ended up having to drive about 15 miles before we could find a gas station that was open AND had air that we could put in the tire.  Apparently, people in rural North Carolina don't need air that often.  It was tough to find!  We got back on the road (with BD situated at the wheel--I refused to drive after that experience) and eventually made it to the beach house a couple of hours later than we had intended.  I only wish that's where the problems ended.  Oh no. . .we got a surprise when we got to the beach house, but that's for a later post. 

The next day, we had to take the car to a tire place so that we could get the original tire fixed and get the spare put back in it's spare-y place.  Of course, we couldn't find a place that was in a decent location and we didn't anticipate the fix taking so long.  It was over lunch time, so we had to find somewhere to eat that was within walking distance of the tire place.  Ha!  That was an entirely laughable event.  The only establishments within walking distance were a laundromat, a children's consignment store and a gas station.  Guess where we ended up eating? 

Ty didn't seem to mind.  I think he was just happy that we agreed to feed him. 

 I will say, despite the fact that it was a gas station, they had the best North Carolina BBQ sandwiches I've ever tasted!  Tyler seemed to agree!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for another post outlining the other "incident" that we had while on our beach vacation!