Things have gotten much busier lately. Not only have I taken over sales duties, so I get a lot more calls, e-mails and chat requests, but since Amanda’s off weekends now (which is great, so I’m not complaining) we’re staying pretty busy.

So, starting with last week. Rita caused pretty major damage, but I was getting off of my watching-news-while-working phase and back into my History Channel phase; I was just burned out on Katrina coverage by this point too. Rita, and I may have already mentioned this, burst a few of the levies that had been patched in N’awlins.

Michael came to stay with us last Friday. We went to eat at TGI Friday’s (I worked at one of those for a couple months back in the Boro). They have a three course meal deal for $12.99 or so, which Michael and I both got. It was a great deal- appetizers, a main dish and a dessert. We came back after that and played the new Tiger Woods game, which Michael had bought. I think Michael beat me by a stroke or two. The putting was a lot different and it threw me and Amanda off a bit. Michael and I watched a bit of a show about “the dark side of elephants” on National Geographic. I fell asleep during that, but I did catch some brutal parts. There’d been a show on earlier that day about the darker side of dolphins. Apparently they’re one of the few animals that kill for reasons other than food or defense. The males also stalk and control women to make sure that when they breed, they breed with them.

The next day Sarah came over. She and her roommates threw their first keg party for one of their birthdays the night before. I’d thought Sarah had been better with her relationship with Michael, but I think now that I was wrong. She showed throughout the weekend that she was needy, insecure and needed to have things her way in the relationship. She got jealous of Michael spending time with us for one thing. Some of her family was in town to go ice skating for one of her sister’s birthdays and they were going out to eat afterwards. Amanda and I went to the beach during that, and Michael wanted to do a bit of surfing as well, so they decided they didn’t have to eat with the family. Of course, they ended up eating with them. Michael made the excuse of getting free food, but we knew beforehand he’d get sucked into going. Later when we played Scrabble Michael made some comment about Jessica Simpson, which Sarah had to talk to him about later. Then there was the church issue, which I’ll get to later.

So I surfed a bit on Saturday. Earlier in the day, the waves and the undertow were really rough, and when Amanda and I first went out on the beach the Frazzelles were all out in the (semi-) shallow water getting all knocked around. It was fun. After they’d all gotten out and I went back in, I was facing towards the beach and a particularly strong wave came and knocked my legs straight out in front of me, landing me right on my ass. It was hilarious, I’m sure. Amanda lost a bit of her top at one point, but nobody saw but me. She said she had an incident wit her bottom too, but it was underwater.

I caught one decent wave when I went surfing, and on my way back, I was fighting the waves and getting knocked about. At one point a wave knocked me under and slapped the board against my face twice- once on the corner of my mouth and once on the opposite side of my upper forehead. I got a little blood in my mouth and a very small knot on the forehead, so I figured that was time to call it a day. Michael and Sarah were there when I got back, but they didn’t bother going out to the beach.

When we got home Amanda and I ordered a pizza. Papa John’s didn’t send any garlic sauce with our thin crust pizza (although they did cut it right- Chicago style), which they always had before, and indeed Amanda asked to make sure they put some in there. We got it delivered, which we normally don’t since it’s so close, but I was in the shower and Amanda had just gotten out. Anyway, Amanda called about the garlic sauce and they told her that they were supposed to charge extra for the garlic sauce on thin crusts, which doesn’t make much sense since it costs the same as a regular pizza. Anyway, Amanda vowed we wouldn’t order from that Papa John’s anymore and I was sent out to pick up some garlic sauce. They gave me like four packs of it, and Michael (who went with me) had the fun idea of telling Amanda that we paid for them. She was about to go off and I couldn’t hold it any more, so I told her we were kidding.

Then we played some Scrabble. I think Sarah won. After that we watched 28 Days Later, which Sarah later told me was a stupid movie. I think she just dislikes zombie movies, although it is of course much different from other zombie movies.

Then came Sunday. There had been some debate about what Sarah was going to do for church. She said she felt she had to go to church and take communion every week. It just so happened that we were having communion at Port City, but as I had pointed out, it’s not the same as communion at a Catholic church. Michael suggested that he and Amanda go to Port City and Sarah and I go to a local Catholic church, which I was down for at first just because I hadn’t been to a Catholic church in some time. Well, we all ended up going to Port City’s 8:30 service. It actually touched me and afterwards I stuck around for just a bit to talk to Mike, the preacher. I thanked him for doing God’s work and told him how every theme they’d had at Port City since Amanda and I started coming really spoke to us about something we were going through at the time.

Anyway, we stopped by the Manhattan Bagel on 17th, which is becoming a Sunday tradition. Amanda and Michael got their bagels and went outside to eat but I had to wait a minute more for my muffin. Sarah wasn’t getting anything (which I later realized was for pre-communion fasting purposes, or at least that was the conclusion I came to) so she hung back inside with me. Sarah had been quiet and had an air of… something about her, so I asked her what was wrong. She would only say that she felt “pensive.” I was pretty uncomfortable the whole time.

When we got back, I was in the bathroom for too long and didn’t go with Michael and Sarah to the Catholic church. Amanda said that the whole time before they left, Michael and Sarah were in the guest room and she was upset about something, apparently having gone to our church and something about having communion there. I’ve decided I’m not going to get into that.

Well, after all that we went to the beach and played a few rounds of Bocce. I think everyone ended up winning a round, although I on two in a row. I think Sarah won the last two that I played. She was actually okay at the beach. It’s like Amanda said- when they’re out doing something she’s fine. I’d written our initials down in the sand to keep score and got a new word out of it: ZAMS. It’s a great word to use as an expression. Like you throw your ball and it looks like it’ll be a good one: “ZAMS!” Or maybe you threw it and it bounced a little far: “ZAMMIT!” Great word.

The water was even rougher that day, but I wanted to get in a little bit. I didn’t got past my waist though. Sarah got in too and almost got knocked down, then Michael was in for a bit. The rough waves are fun.

We hung out for a bit and went walking with the Frazzelles to the end of the island. There was a lady out collecting shells and she had a good number of conchs. We started wading in the water then and I found two conch myself. They weren’t the prettiest, but they were decent.

Work was busy all that next week, this past week, however you’d like to label it. Scott had a talk with Josh and I about having us pretty much, no, not pretty much, but actually running things hopefully by the turn of the year. He and Ann Marie have another baby on the way, although it’s been labeled a risky pregnancy and we’re some of the first people to know. This past month was not one that will generate much income for next month, and I really feel like I need to get it together as far as sales go. I’m really trying. I want to seize this opportunity and really make something of it, and I feel like I’m on the cusp of doing it. I just need to figure out how to do it and do it.

We found a replacement for the wrap I always got from Buffalo Wild Wings. We always ate there on Tuesdays because they have cheap wings then, and Amanda likes wings (which I think Pamela Penny, or someone from her DS Max days, got her into). I’ve discovered that I really like their honey bar-b-que boneless wings. I’m glad I’ve found something new I really like there. Dip them in ranch- mmmm.

We went to another small group connection on Wednesday. We didn’t win the Scrabble-type game this time, but if we ever have to do it again, we’ll know to make one really long word and make a bunch of small words off of that. Anyway, we’ve got three other couples this time, and we’ve already talked to one of the couples a few times already. I feel better about it this time, so hopefully it’ll last longer. I feel like we have more in common with some of these people already. We’ve set Wednesday as our meeting day this time, so we’ll have to record Lost for the foreseeable future.

We went to Richlands on Saturday to Mary Shaw’s son’s wedding. Brad Christian from the church and I did the video for the wedding. It was iffy as to whether or not he’d be there, but it’s a really good thing he was, because I’d have had a hell of a time operating all the cameras and the switcher all by myself. We went to the reception too, and I used my own video camera to get some footage of that. It certainly isn’t professional quality, but for a free job (well, Mary did give me a card with a $50 gift card to Blue Water, The Oceanic, Henry’s or some other place), I don’t think it’s terrible. We had a good time, although it lasted until a little after 10. It was in Jacksonville and we had to drive back to Richlands to pick up he car (I’d driven to the church alone since I had to go early) then back to the house to change clothes and pick up Bruce.

We didn’t see Michael, since he was at work and then went to see Sarah in Chapel Hill.

I made the observation that if you wanted a bunch of 20-something-year-old North Carolinian girls out on the dance floor, you have to play either some hip hop or some country. Odd mix, but that’s what got them out there.

We went to church at 8:30 this morning, I directed.

We went to Manhattan Bagel then watched Shrek 2, which happened to be on HBO, then went out to the beach with Bruce, since dogs are allowed after October 1. Of course, he wasted no time in taking a dump in the sand, but we had a plastic bag with us. Bruce dug and rolled around in the sand after I took him for a run in the surf. He’d go in a little bit himself, but I had to pick him up and put him in the water for more fun. After that he’d roll around in the sand a bunch more. He even let me and Amanda mostly bury him, which was funny. We walked down to The Oceanic and saw Adam, told him to give us a call when he got off.

I got in the water for a minute then I went back to the house to put on some lotion. By the time I finished Amanda was back to put some on too and to change into her bathing suit (it was slightly chilly earlier in the day, but the weather turned out great). We talked to Hannah, who said that Scout had slipped and fallen when they got home and hurt himself. He may have broken one of his legs, the poor, fat little thing.

Amanda and I went back out and just laid out for a while. I got in the water briefly, but it was cold. Amanda and I laid out for a long while (Bruce kept messing up the towels). We talked to Ben, one of the guys from our new group, who usually went to the beach as well on Sundays. He’d called the day before to invite us to Riverfest, but of course it was long, long over by the time we got back last night. We thought of meeting them on the beach today, but it turned out they couldn’t make it out. Anyway, we took a walk to the jetty then went back to wash up. Hannah was working on Of Mice And Men, which she’d been working in since last week (it’s not much more than 100 pages).

Adam met us there and we took him to pick up his (not his, as he explains it, but Mom and Dad’s or Erin’s) car from the Wrightsville Park. He’d carpooled from there. The poor car sounds like a horde of velociraptors when it starts up. We ate at Jersey Mike’s and then got some ice cream from Boombalatti’s. Adam talked about how he and Renee were going to break up she leaves to the country next semester, as she would probably not be coming back. And yet he’s going to visit her family in Charlotte for Thanksgiving and she’s coming to visit ours for Christmas. That’s gotta be tough.

That reminds me- Andra and Josh are getting a house together in both their names.

Andra went with Mom and Dad and Jackson to Kentucky this weekend, which I would have done if I hadn’t committed to the wedding already. Pap turned 80 on Friday, and he didn’t know they were coming. Bernie and Tom and maybe Terry were showing up too, all a surprise. He got to meet his first great-grandson on his 80th birthday, which is nice.

Anyway, I need to go to bed. On Friday, I actually woke up half an hour late, which was a first for me. Not bad, considering I rarely use an alarm. For the record, my internal clock still works well, since I’d woken up a little after 8 and had gone back to sleep (which isn’t usually a problem).