Had a bunch of people come in the beach house when I was typing the other day, and I didn’t want to go through the hassle of it all. Right now Amanda and I are in the car heading up to Richlands to pick up our Bruce.

So, backing up a little….

I talked to Baba on Friday. I don’t know how well Pap’s doing. It sounds pretty dreadful, what he’s going through. Diarrhea and dehydration, infections, weakness. Baba said he fell a while ago and she couldn’t help him up so she had to call Uncle Steve over to get him up. I can’t imagine how embarrassing that would be, especially to a man from the earlier part of last century, a war veteran, a builder. I selfishly hope he’ll live long enough for me to get to Lexington with a video camera. See, a big reason why I do this here, this journal (fine, diary if you like) is that I wish I had something like this from my parents and grandparents. I reminded Pup Pup of my request to have him write down a memoir when I saw him a week ago, and he said he keeps meaning to. I really hope he does. So at any rate, I desperately want a record of the lives of my grandparents. I’ve already lost one, and I don’t know how forthcoming she’d been with her past. I just want to preserve, you know? I want to know what things were like.

Moving on, last Friday we went to Raleigh to see some of my old college buddies, ostensibly for Joel’s birthday. When I got there he and Rob were there (since they live there of course) along with Jason and Charlie. Jason I keep in touch with pretty well anyway, and I talk to Joel now and then when he’s at Jason’s. All that said, it was really good to see Charlie. We were roommates my last year in Greensboro and I really should keep in better touch with him. He seems to be doing pretty well. Rob was Rob and it was good to see him, too.

Patrick was there too. God, I hadn’t seen Patrick in more years than I’d seen everyone else. He was Jay Serino’s roommate in North Spencer until he flunked out for playing too much Zelda on the Nintendo 64. He was also friends with Matt Troy, and through that we pulled in Charlie and Travis, our freshman buddies my junior year.

After some time a few friends of Rob and Joel showed up, along with Jaime and, shock of all shocks, Jay Serino himself. Apparently nobody’s seen him since his wedding. I had last talked to him a few days before that and he’d told me he’d call me after his honeymoon and we’d get together. Never happened. It was funny when he came in though. I was sitting on one side of a table against the wall, at the end past Patrick and Charlie; everyone else was out in the rest of the dining/living room/kitchen. So Jay said hi and hugged Patrick and Charlie then went on to everyone else. We realized that he didn’t recognize me, so Charlie said he was going to introduce me as his friend Zach when Jay had finished the rounds. Amanda ruined that though, because when Jay got to her (she said he looked like he was about to pretend that he should know her) she introduced herself as “Amanda, Zach’s wife.” Jay looked surprised as hell when he finally laid eyes on me and figured out who I was. It was very funny. In his defense, Joel’s sister, Jessica, did a double take when she figured out who I was too. (She was only there for a little while.) Really it was the glasses and the long curls I think that threw them off. Back then I had always kept my hair buzzed short. And of course, I just got the glasses.

Jay brought his wife and they have a seventeen-month-old son, which is crazy to me. Jaime brought his fiancée, Angie. She’s got more of an accent than Amanda, but then, it’s a mountain accent.

So we hung out for a while. There was some beer pong going on. I had a good time, but we left to go back to Wilmington around 1am. Amanda knew her monthly time was coming, so she wanted to sleep at home for it.

The trip back was very quick. For me it was anyway, since I slept through most of it. I woke up a little before we got back to town to see some really impressive lightning. Actually, on the way to Raleigh it had been raining really terribly. We had to go real slow on 440 and I almost decided to stop and pull over a couple times. We had the wipers all the way up and could still hardly see.

Oh yeah, I had talked to Jeff on the way up to Raleigh. He sounded like crap for the most part but apparently he was doing better. They’re selling their home with land in the middle of nowhere across a creek and probably moving to a neighborhood Jeff has a contract in in Versailles (pronounced Ver-sales in Kentucky), not too far from Lexington. After a few more jobs he said he was thinking of getting out of self-employment and getting a government job. The last year had just been rough.

On Saturday we went to Scott’s for a cookout. Andra and Josh got to town just a little before that and went I think to Carolina Beach while we were out. It’s funny- we still haven’t been to Carolina Beach but the last couple couples who visited us have. Anyway, I had a good time at Scott’s. Amanda actually had some people to talk to, so I hope she wasn’t too bored. It was nice to finally meet a few people I work with and put faces to names.

After that we went home then, with Josh and Andra and Jackson following us, headed over to the beach to begin our vacation. Pup Pup was there and stayed that night. Amanda, Andra, Josh and I stayed up late playing Scrabble. Amanda killed in it. I started off really bad but got second. We also learned a lesson that repeated itself throughout the week- Josh plays games very sloooooooowly.

We invited Andra and Josh to church with us on Sunday, but Josh declined to go then Andra said she wouldn’t go so Josh wouldn’t have to stay there alone. It really bugged me and Amanda. They can’t decide on a church to go to and use that as an excuse not to go, so Jackson will likely never end up going to church, so there was no reason to have him baptized. It’s hypocritical in a way, and it really irks me.

Anyway, Erin was supposed to get in Saturday and Mom was going to pick her up then come in to Wilmington late. It turned out that Erin didn’t see on her Orbitz itinerary that she was supposed to somehow get from Newark, where she flew in, to La Guardia, with hardly enough time between flights to get there. So she missed that, got a hotel for the night and flew in to Wilmington. So on Sunday morning, right as church was ending, I was getting a bunch of calls from Mom, trying to figure out where to go to get to the beach, then the Lumina overheated. (Actually my phone kept beeping at church- I kept it on one low beep to let me know when people were trying to call, and the lady next to me kept glaring at me. I noticed her twice anyway. If she’d done it again I’d have asked her if she would like to say something to me.) Anyway, we had to go by the house to pick some stuff up then swing out and pick up Erin. So then we had to get Mom, throw a bunch of stuff into our car from hers, then go to the airport and pick Erin up. It was very hectic and cramped. We ended up picking Erin up about half an hour late, which reminded me of the time I came back to RDU the summer I’d gone to Europe. I stayed in Texas with Aunt Robbie before and after Europe, and I’d been away for a month, but my family was late picking me up. (Coincidentally, when they picked me up, that was the first time I saw the ’88 Chevy Celebrity that would one day become my first car.) I just remember the disappointment I’d felt, and I felt bad that Erin might feel some of that. She’s got a good tan now.

Terry and Gyspy got in on Monday, sometime in the afternoon. Dad and Tom, with his whole crew, had gone to Lexington Sunday after they’d come in on Saturday and stayed in Rougemont for a bit. They got in late on Monday.

The week went nicely. I hadn’t seen Jaime, Preston, Parker and Paige apparently in three years and the kids are at the ages now where they’re “interesting.” They’re 12, 13 and 14, but you’d think they were older, especially the boys. They’re big.

We’re pulling into the Mercer driveway now, so I’ll continue later. I’m slated to drive back, so it’ll probably not be until tomorrow. Can’t wait to see Bruce!