I'm not too sure how many of the events that have taken place over the last week I should go in to, because I'm guessing it will become one of those long dragged out posts where people log on and go, Whoa, I don't have time to read that! So I'll attempt a brief overview, which is certain to turn into a long dragged out post. You've been forewarned.
Let's start, briefly, with last week Wednesday. We are almost ready to leave for Wisconsin for the holidays. I wanted to leave early because there was some sort of snow storm headed for the midwest and I might need the extra day of travel. I loosely use the phrase "almost ready" because I wasn't actually packed, didn't have the house clean so my friend could come feed the cats, and had a small list of errands that needed to be done. Along with all the things I hadn't finished on Wednesday, we add that the dog needs to see the vet because he wouldn't walk on his front left foot. And Louisa needed to see the doctor because of a bump on her foot that has been bothering her for far too long. Can't get either in until Thursday. Great, that gives me another day to get the house clean and packed and all that fun stuff.
Thursday brings two doc appointments, and..... not much of anything else. Didn't pack much, didn't clean much. Can we say Procrastinate? Yes, I'm the queen. I was packed and ready by 6:00 pm Thursday evening. We were going to stop and get a Happy Meal on the road. The kids were in the car, very excited. I planned on driving 6 hours to Little Rock and stopping for the night. All I had to do was lock a rolling cover I have on the bed of my truck. The lock doesn't always click right away and sometimes I have to jimmy it a little. Unfortunately, I jimmied it way too much and pulled out the roll out cover way too far. It got stuck and I could not get the tailgate up. I worked on it for about two hours with some tools and a flashlight. Finally gave up since it was way too late and I didn't want to drive until 2:00 in the morning. The kids and I grabbed Husband's truck and went to get some very late dinner. Then I put them to bed and finished some cleaning I hadn't gotten done.
In the morning I told the kids we'd be on the road by 10:00 and we'd stop and get some donuts. Noon came along and we still weren't on the road and the roll up cover was still stuck. A maintenance worker came to put a new storm door on my house. When he was finished, he noticed I was futzing with my truck and asked if he could help. I showed him how the cover was jammed, and in literally two seconds he had it pulled out and working fine. figures. As happy as I was to get on the road, I was very frustrated at all the work I put in to something that took a man two seconds to fix.
We hit the road and drove for 8 hours, stopping in Memphis. We stayed at a hotel that cost us $44 total, and was actually more comfortable than some beds that I've paid over $100 for. However, a sketchy side of town, which I'm sure is part of the reason for the price break.
We got up and ate at Cracker Barrel and then took off for our last leg of the trip. A 10 hour push to Wisconsin. We made it in a little more than 10, but at least it was uneventful. The kids rode well, we watched a lot of movies on our portable DVD player, and it wasn't as hard a drive as I thought it would be.
So, we've been here since late Saturday night and we've been busy every day. My mom, Louisa, my sister, and I got to see the Milwaukee Ballet's Nutcracker on Sunday, which Louisa loved. And Christmas Eve was spent at my sister's house, which is right around the block from my parent's house. My sister had a friend dress as Santa and come give the kids presents. Hunter freaked (in a good way) when he saw Santa walk in the door. He was so excited! Christmas day we did the present thing and saw Alvin and the Chipmunks. Today was finally nice enough for the kids to play outside. I do not miss this Wisconsin cold. This is a bitter cold that sticks to your bones. I'm glad today was a little warmer.
Christmas without daddy was a little hard for all of us. I think we all had some tears at some point. He had bought them a present and had it sent to my parents house so they could open it Christmas morning. We were instant messaging with him while the kids opened it. They were stuffed animals that have a special code so you can register them with the International Star Registry, as well as registering for your own star. So now the kids have stars that daddy can look for.
But most sad is daddy. He spent Christmas in country 7200 miles from here, alone, on an "American" base that did not once recognize that it was Christmas. No special meal, no decorations, no "Merry Christmas". Just him and a buddy watching It's a Wonderful Life, and that was all the Christmas he got. That's how soldiers really spend Christmas. Not, the special dinners they show on the evening news.