I finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman today. I wish the back of the book didn’t say something about it being like a modern Alice In Wonderland, because, particularly towards the end, I felt that way. I’ve been meaning to read Neverwhere for a long time, and only got around to it now because it’s one of quite a few books that my brother, Adam Dotsey, left here at my house when he packed up and moved to San Diego.

Michael Mercer, Amanda’s brother who is staying with us, went home this weekend. His girlfriend, Sarah Denning, was going to come visit us, but said she had a lot of work to do. Despite that, Michael went on home. He said that last weekend when he went home he didn’t spend any time with his parents. Nevermind that he’s lived with them for 23 years. I just hate that he’s going home so often because I feel he’s missing out. It’ll be hard for him to meet new people and make friends if he’s going home all the time. I made that mistake when I was in college. Granted I did make friends and meet people, but it helped to have a very social roommate.

Work was pretty good today. I met my boss, Scott Hendrix, and the production manager, Tim Henrich, up at The Connection in the morning. Tim and I went over a bunch of projects and we bounced a few new ideas off of Scott. One thing did bother me today, and I think it bothered Scott too. When we get a request in for our search engine optimization service, Scott spends about 15 to 20 minutes creating a nicely-done, pretty in-depth report. Scott then sends it to me to look over then I send it to whoever requested it and give them a phone call to go over it. We got one of those today and when I called the guy, he completely dismissed me. There was no thanks for calling or anything, just “I’m good.” I said to the guy, “You did fill out this form because you needed some help, right?” You know, it’s not that he turned us down, but the fact that he asked for something from us and didn’t even give us the time of day to go over what we can do to help out. I think from now on we’ll make sure someone is serious about doing something before giving them the report.

Jessica Lambeth got here around 3 or 4:00. She works half days and came over so we (me and Amanda and her and her husband, Ben) could all leave to go camping as soon as Ben got off work. We DVRed a couple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy for her to watch. When Amanda got home the two of them got a few things from the Lowe’s Food up the road while I finished work. Ben got here a few miuntes after they left so we went ahead and loaded up his Jeep. We grabbed Bruce then headed on out to Carolina Beach.

Jessica decided she and Amanda would put up the new tent Amanda and I bought yesterday while Ben and I ran back out to get a few final supplies. We picked up some extra batteries and a pad of paper (for keeping score while we played Spades). We then went to a grocery store next to the Dollar General to pick up some lighter fluid and something to roast marshmallows on. They didn’t have wire hangers so we picked up the only thing we could find that might work; some wooden skewers. Ben decided on the way out to see if he could find something else at a CVS we passed, and he ended up buying a couple of fly swatters that we took apart and cut in half.

I sat in the Jeep while Ben was in the CVS and saw a guy leave his shopping cart on the curb, not 20 feet from the entrance to the store. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves, so I hopped out and took it inside while the guy was sitting in his vehicle, muttering and shaking my head the entire time in hopes that he’d pick up on my disdain for his actions. I doubt he got it.

After the CVS we went to pick up some dinner from Subway. Because of a spinach e. coli epedimic, Ben couldn’t get Jessica what she initially wanted. On top of that, the Subway was almost entirely out of bread. Fortunately they had a foot and a half of parmasan oregano left, so Amanda and I got what we wanted. Unfortunately, Ben got Jessica the last bit of regular bread. They had some special kind, a sour dough something or other, available, but it was 50 cents more for a six inch and a dollar more for a footlong. Ben agreed to pay it, but here’s the thing- the store was out of bread, so they shouldn’t have upcharged, since it’s not the bread he wanted in the first place and it wasn’t his fault they were out.

The Subway turned off their open sign, but people kept coming in after us. The lady, I assume a manager, who seemed more interested in getting out an hour early than in accomodating her customers, kept telling people she was out of bread. She then mentioned the other bread and how much more it was and most people shrugged with a little annoyance. I wonder how long that bread lasted.

After Subway, our last stop was to pick up some firewood. Based on not having enough last time, we picked up four cords of wood then went on back to the beach. The girls did a fine job of putting up the tent, although it was in reach of the tide so we had to drag it back a few feet. We ate our subs by electric lantern light then got started on the fire.

The fire did not go well this time. I think the wood was a bit damp. We had it going enough to roast some marshmallows and eat a few s’mores each, but we spent a large chunk of the night just trying to get the fire going. We ended up running out of lighter fluid, so Ben went back out to get more while I tried (unsuccessfully) to keep what fire we had going. When he got back he also brought some newspaper (we did have other kindling before) and we were able to get it going beter this time. I’m not sure if the previous attempt just wasn’t set up right or what.

We played Spades after that. Long story short, the girls remain undefeated. It was pretty late after that, around 2:00 if I remember correctly. When we first got out there around 7 or 8:00 the beach was pretty deserted, but there were people on either side of us by then. Not too close, but I’d say within a stone’s throw. Amanda, Ben and I played with the fire, mostly just trying to use up the rest of the lighter fluid. As the fire was dying out we all put our feet on the edge of the pit we’d dug in the sand to feel the warm sand. Amanda and Jessica went on to bed but Ben and I stayed up for a few extra minutes, just watching the fire burn out.

Bruce had a nice time too, by the way. He managed to steal several graham crackers and I think even a marshmallow. Jessica had gotten a sleeping bag out before we started playing Spades, so he ended up spending a large chunk of the evening curled up in her sleeping bag.

Zach Dotsey