There’s something to be said…

 


…about concentration and being able to do so under pressure.  Case in point.  Right now it’s 1:30 am and I have to be on the road in about 8 1/2 hours.  For the most part yesterday I ran errands and did a fair number of things around the house that should have been done in the last couple of weeks, but being me,  I always wait until the last minute.  Sometimes the very last minute.  But I managed to get most of them accomplished.  Suffice it to say the hedges in front of the house are now trimmed back to a more aesthetically pleasing level, the lawn is mowed and trimmed in all the right places and finally, I got the marigolds and impatiens planted in the beds in the front of the house.  Yes, I know they should have been planted about a month ago.  Hush.  This evening the wife and I had soup and sandwich for dinner because that was inherently easier than cooking anything else, and we’d already dropped a good amount of cash at the grocery store earlier in the day, and that basically was part of what we shopped for.  The rest was frozen food for her to have while I’m away and some other bits and pieces of the puzzle so she can survive while I’m out of the local picture for the next few days.  After that, a little chatting with my girl, then I headed upstairs to pack not only my clothing but more importantly my toybag.  Just coincidentally, it was still packed from when I went to visit my girl back last November, so I needed to remove all that stuff, catalog what I had, list what I needed to bring this time, and pack that.  Made a list of what I needed to have in other items, packed both my bags and set them aside for today.  There are other things that I can pack in the morning, like my pillows, my CPAP machine and a few other odds and ends.  Yes, the cookies too.  A damn good thing I don’t like macadamia nuts or those 4 dozen cookies would be halfway gone.

While I was out and about this morning, I happened to spot a vintage automobile, and it just so happened to park at a place across from where I was getting my lunch.  Fortunately, I had my phone with me and got a picture of it from the back.  The funny thing about this area is, there’s a fair amount of people here that own Ford Edsels.  Honestly, I’d never seen one in person before I moved here.  I can’t really imagine why they never caught on when they originally were for sale.  They’re a really handsome car when you think about it.  At least I think so.  Btw, that’s not an Edsel, I was just musing on the fact this place is lousy with them.

The closer you get…

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…the more harried you become.  At least that’s how it is with me.  It’s now 3-4 days until I blast off on my meeting with my girl and I’m (as usual) no closer to being ready.  Quite coincidentally,  there’s a visit happening here at the house the week following my sojourn south, and with the house here being it’s usual wreck /craphole/disaster area less than idyllic clean situation, there’s things to be done in the interim.  Though I’m not further along in getting them done either.

I’m a procrastinator.  Always been one, probably always will be.  Certainly much to the chagrin of both my wife, my girl, and as I recall, my parents.  I just never have seen the urgency of getting things done on time, or getting to appointments on time.  Don’t get me started on the getting to work on time issue.

Speaking of procrastination, I slipped this baby into the draft column and only now (3 days later) have I pulled it back out and given it some love.

Last night I baked cookies for my girl to take with me on my trip tomorrow.  At least that’s done!  Today is for going to the chiropractor so I don’t have to worry about back pain for the remainder of the week (I hope!)  getting some planting done outside, and turning over some flower/vegetable beds so the wife can plant things that should have been in the ground a couple weeks ago.  Sometimes you have to get the one with muscles to do the bull work, even though I’ve been tinkering with the Troy-Bilt rototiller over the last week or so.  Some things are even beyond a 40 yr old bit of machinery.  So I’ll break out the garden fork and get cracking on that when I get home.  Then it’s back inside to wage war on the piles of stuff I should have done back over the weekend.  Wish me luck!

I’m going to probably need it.  Packing I won’t do until either tonight or tomorrow morning.  At least I have my list started!

The Second Battle of Antietam (Part I)

Dunker church at Antietam, cannons in the foreground.

One would think a trip to a National Park would be simple. Over the last 2 days, nothing could be further from the truth. In retrospect, it all turned out (mostly) for the best, but it certainly seemed as if it could go either way at several junctures along the way.

Our initial plan of attack was formulated several weeks ago when we were deciding what to do with this vacation time that needed to be used. My wife had suggested either Delaware or somewhere else ‘close to home’, basically something that could be driven to on about 4-6 hours. Any further and it would involve a little more planning (and luggage) as it was we were starting to test the abilities of the SUV we have to carry all that we were going to be taking.

Being interested in the American Civil War period, I suggested Antietam, in Sharpsburg, MD. We had visited Gettysburg, PA in 2007, and had a really good time there. Visited the battlefield on our own, and even contracted with the park for an official battlefield guide (HIGHLY recommend this option for anyone going there, you get a much better understanding of the event, as well as a knowledgeable guide for a modest fee) to give us a 3 hour tour of the area and the battle itself. We ended up with an amazing guide, he was a US Army veteran, recently returned from Iraq and had a very keen understanding of military tactics both from a 19th century as well as a 21st century POV.

Quite coincidentally, my wife had visited the battlefield when she was very young with her parents. Her Dad was a Bird Colonel in the US Air Force and they used to travel by plane on their family vacations. There are many times I wished I could have been around to see how her father would have interpreted different military scenarios. Having not served in the military myself, but having secondary education, I have my own viewpoints based on history. He lived and served during WWII, so he would have had a more personalized viewpoint. We never ended up having that sort of conversation, considering he died before the turn of the century.

Getting back to the story here, my apologies for getting off on tangents, just one of my many foibles. Having decided on where to go, we needed a place to stay. Now my wife and I both shop for many things online, and we comparison shop for things like hotel rooms as well as combing relevant websites that might have reviews that others miss. Between the two of us, we narrowed down the options to 2 chains, both in the Hagerstown area, which is about 12-15 miles from Sharpsburg. Anything closer and we’d end up trying to stay at a bed and breakfast. My wife and I would be considered ‘considerable’, so you don’t want to see the two of us trying to fit into a full-size bed. Or even a Queen. We’ve tried it before with less than desirable results. Suffice it to say, we’re better off in a hotel, where we can choose from viable options and at least in some way have a say, or at least a bit of control on how we’re going to be sleeping, eating, etc.

The one we finally chose had good ratings, decent reviews and had 2 more items on our respective checklists. My wife likes to stay at places that have either a pool, a jacuzzi/hot tub or (preferably) both. With the one we ultimately settled on, it had a King suite with a Jacuzzi in the room and an indoor pool (also a microwave and fridge in the room). What the reviews and other information failed to mention was, the hotel was undergoing considerable upgrades and construction, but I’ll address that in a bit. We both have AAA and AARP memberships so on a normally $250 a night room, we ended up spending a little more than $89/night. Pretty damn good on the surface.

[Unfortunately, it’s getting late and I need to be driving tomorrow in snow and rain, so I will continue this when I get back home…or at breakfast, depending on time constraints…..]