Thursday, July 21, 2005

Road Trip: Georgia and Maryland, July 2005

Friday, July 8:

We woke up early; I assembled things in piles for Peterbird to pack later in the day. He drove me to work, and then took Gertrude in to get fixed up a little. I got out of work around 3 pm (my job has wonderful perks), and we set off from there. We took Interstate 95 down to Rhode Island, took the loop around Providence, and continued along the coast of Connecticut. We started to go around New York City as soon as we reached the New York state line, taking us through Pennsylvania, where we paused at a rest stop for a refreshing three-hour nap in Gertrude. (Yay to station wagons!)

Saturday, July 9:

We woke up from our nap refreshed enough to press on, down through one of the narrower parts of Maryland. Virginia seemed to take forever, even though I slept through much of it. North Carolina and South Carolina were spent admiring the greenery, and finally we passed into Georgia, west and south to Athens to Watkinsville.

We were greeted by the Horescus and borş with sour cream. I was too full to remember what came after that, but it was even more filling and tasty. There was a lot of guilt for not finishing food. There was also a lot of food. We went for a brief walk and watched the first of several movies. There were unsuccessful attempts to open a large (foot-high) jar of pickled peppers: everyone had a go, and we even tried varying the temperature with hot water.

Sunday, July 10:

We said the prayers in preparation for Holy Eucharist, and drove to St. Philothea, parish of Fr. Anthony Salzman, an iconographer whom we had met just the week before. It was a lovely building, and I enjoyed singing with the welcoming choir. The director was clear without being distracting from the service. The parish seemed cohesive and familial. Also importantly, they had ice cream afterwards.

I think there was a nap and more food afterwards. Mrs. H— and I went to the grocery store to get a few things. My list included a gripper thing (you didn't think I'd given up on that pickled-pepper jar, did you?) and some Blue Bell ice cream (only available in certain places). The smallest container they had was the half-gallon size, but it was on sale, so we got one. I ate a significant bit of it before we went to their daughter's house. Mrs. H— had told me that since she was on a diet, and Mr. H— was trying to not eat too much sugar, we would be responsible for eating the ice cream before we left—and Peterbird doesn't like ice cream: it's cold.

We enjoyed meeting and seeing again, respectively, their daughter. We enjoyed her, her husband, and their lovely house. We had brought the Blue Bell, and enjoyed it with the ice cream they already had in some post-prandial sundaes. Then we left it there. I was a little sad, but somewhat relieved that I didn't have to finish an entire carton by myself. The gripper thing refused to work on the pickle jar, and their counters weren't the type I felt comfortable whanging the rim of the lid of a large glass jar against.

Monday, July 11:

Mrs. H— went to work early in the morning, and by the time I got up, Mr. H— and Peterbird were ready to go to the library, as there was no internet access at the house. I was really hungry when we came home around noon, but was just going to lay down for a minute ....

Around five o'clock, I got up for a late lunch. We watched another movie, had another wonderful Romanian dinner, and had another restful night in the guest room. I worked on learning Romanian throughout the week.

Tuesday, July 12:

We went east to Augusta to visit my sister J—. We admired her house (she doesn't like it; it's "just an investment"), then went to see the scenic Savannah riverwalk. We had lunch at the Boll Weevil Cafe, known for its desserts.

After another half-hour of walking (there were more-than-healthy servings of cheesecake) on the riverwalk, we got in the car and toured the base where she's currently stationed. I had never been on a base before, and it was kinda neat; she bought me, as an anniversary present, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

We went back to her house and watched Hitch, which we enjoyed immensely. The air conditioner stopped working, but we drove back to the H— house, where a delighted Mrs. H— showed me she had bought a replacement half-gallon of Blue Bell. I suffered through a large bowl as we watched some short travel documentaries about Greece and relaxed.

Wednesday, July 13:

We went west to Atlanta to visit Lissa and Gabi. Mikey was at work, but we enjoyed the rest of his family just the same. After lunch, we went to the High Museum of Art where I was unsuccessful in finding my chair. I will have to go back. *sigh* I want to be able to make beautiful furniture, too. How come they never have any furniture in the gift shop? I left my contact information at the front in case they care and want to look for my chair (which I fell in love with the first time I went there, over ten years ago). The man said they had some pieces in storage, but they'd be opening up more space in the fall.

I took lots of pictures of Gabi and things we liked in the museum, but don't feel like posting them now.

We drove home to eat dinner and, for me, three bowls of ice cream. Yes, ice cream and movies are the backbone of the trip. Get over it.

Thursday, July 14:

Before I was awake, Peterbird and Mr. H— went to get an estimate on how much it would cost to fix Gertrude's air conditioning (too much). We went to the library in the morning again, coming back for lunch. I took a nap read Brother Cadfael. (You think wrong if I travel without reading material!)

In the evening, we watched another movie. (These movies included Her Alibi, Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain.) Peterbird stole some of my ice cream! (Okay, only about four spoonfuls, but he should get his own ice cream if he doesn't like it! No use wasting Blue Bell on him.) So that's a half-gallon of ice cream I ate in three days. I'm still working on walking it off.

Peterbird, at my previous suggestion, took the jar out to the deck and struck the rim of the lid on the deck railing, then using the grippy thing, opened the jar. Victory! And I helped!

Friday, July 15:

We said our good-byes early in the morning (no air conditioning, remember? in the summer in the south), and drove (okay, I did no driving whatsoever on this trip) from Georgia through South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. We made pretty good time, until just before Alexandria (part of Washington, D.C.). Then we covered 50 miles in about two and a half hours. Next time, we'll plan better, so as to neither lose our air conditioning nor hit D.C. during Friday rush hour. Nonetheless, we reached the S— house in southwest Baltimore a little after six. We made friends with Eric, their beautiful black cat. J—, a former trumpet, showed us how he can use his drinking horn to play the Notre Dame fight song. S— was as friendly and wonderful as usual.

Saturday, July 16:

We drove to northeastern Baltimore to meet up with O— and his girlfriend for lunch. O— was one of Peterbird's English teachers in Nigeria, and they had many adventures together. He is like an older brother, and whenever Peterbird hears his voice on the phone, I can see it in his face even before he cracks it with a huge grin, just after he hears the exuberant "Petah!"

In the afternoon, I read the first two chapters of J—'s Harry Potter, watched Antz, and played Beyond Balderdash with J—, then went to Vespers to meet up with the Nees.

Their church, Holy Cross (Khouria Frederica Mathewes-Green, one of my favorite authors), is simply beautiful. The walls glowed with icons, and the church was somewhat filled even for Vespers. I noticed that the sign outside said that they also have Vespers on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I hung out with Peterbird at the chant stand, and tried to be small and inobtrusive so I wouldn't get in the way. I liked trying to sing the ison for Laura's chanting; she has a wonderful voice.

We went to a gathering at the Nees' house after Vespers, and talked about all sorts of things (such as Romanian chant), found more eerie Orthodox "coincidences" (she (third from the left) just graduated from Holy Cross, but had previously graduated in the same class and high school as I, living in the neighboring subdivision), and watched Michael Nee's magic tricks (he's really good). It was glorious and unfortunately short, but wonderful to know, for the first time, that I would see all these people at church the next morning.

Laura gave me an extra copy of Harry Potter, and music which I admired so from Vespers (chant is okay, but I love harmony), but declined to let me steal away any children. So far. Maybe I can win her over with some Blue Bell. Or just visit more often. She is much more beautiful in person than in pictures.

Sunday, July 17:

Did I mention that I found the church beautiful at Vespers? That's nothing compared to the sunlit glory of icons lining the walls of a full church, vibrating with song. I had to stop myself from weeping with joy as my soul rejoiced in the feeling of truly being at home, acting according to its purpose. Being commemorated by name during the Great Entrance made my knees especially wobbly. With my emotions in this sort of vulnerability, I'm not sure I could handle a Presanctified Liturgy. I thought about how every time Peterbird and I commune together, we become better at being married.

We enjoyed the agape meal afterwards. Peterbird and I like this idea of returning the coffee hour to its original intent of sharing a meal and company with those with whom you commune. Little David stopped being standoffish to roar at me. I evidently gave a satisfactory cower-and-eep, and this ritual was repeated as many times as he could stop laughing to roar again until the more-adult types made me stop.

So we packed up the car, pausing to watch silly things from J—'s Monty Python DVD (the Lego version, etc.), then drove up through Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. We pulled over at some screechy glass-bottle sounds; I contrived a sling out of the detachable strap from our cooler for the tailpipe which had been dragging, and we drove on along the densely fogged Connecticut coast, on through Rhode Island and up to the Holy Cross campus around midnight. (Somewhere in there I learned the first part of the Our Father in Romanian.) We parked, turned off the car, and unloaded. Peterbird went to drive Gertrude down to her parking spot, and went screeching and smoking all the way there, where the compressor belt broke.

Monday, July 18:

I didn't go to work. Instead, I moped about my dead car, finished Harry Potter, and recovered a little from the trip. We reserved a rental car for Tuesday through Friday. We went with Anthony to look at some used cars for sale. They all look like cars. No cute boxy cars like my baby.

Later this week:

One of our neighbors who used to be a mechanic says that we can fix Gertrude. Peterbird is estimating it will cost less than a hundred dollars for parts to fix things, not including the air conditioner or power steering. (Evidently all sorts of things broke, related to the belt.) I am somewhat enjoying driving the little Dodge Neon: it's clean, it's quick, it has good acceleration; however, the car design limits my vision severely, and it has no character as far as I can tell.

We have, for the most part, stuck to the plan of walking in the evenings to reduce the amount of ice cream my hips are holding. I am very happy to be back editing the pages at OrthodoxWiki.

Today I just missed my nameday Vespers. Peterbird had to remind me. Some online communities which I have been a part of previously ... I don't think I want to be part of them any more. Going there and reading the posts makes me feel sad and somewhat awkward. Maybe we'll sing part of her Akathist tomorrow morning.

And that's what we did on our summer vacation. The end.


Blogger Laura said...

Wow...I'm sorry about the car, but glad that you made it home before it completely pooped out!

We are looking forward to seeing you again and very much enjoyed having you with us!

(we eat lots of ice cream here too!)

Fri Jul 22, 07:14:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Philippa said...

What a wonderful trip! How nice that you got to meet the Nee Family. I confess to being envious!

What a major bummer about the car but Glory to God that you got home before it clunked out. I hope repairs are quickly underway and nothing else goes wrong.

Fri Jul 22, 04:35:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Virgil Petrisor said...

Personally, I have this feeling that the car should have died about 100 miles into the return trip. The rest I consider a miracle. We got home, we found someone on campus who knows cars, and we by-passed the a/c. So we no longer have air conditioning in the car, but the car is running (noisily for now, as we haven't replaced the muffler yet).

Fri Jul 22, 06:02:00 PM CDT  

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