Last night, as I was falling asleep I heard a voice in my head that said “You will not last through the night.” It was extremely freaky. I gave Amanda an extra kiss as she slept, finished my prayers and went on to sleep. I’m still here, but the whole thing was very disconcerting for me. I didn’t sleep well last night as a result.

When we got the bulletin from church today I remembered helping out last week. I was told I could leave during the 12:30 service, since at that one we don’t videotape anything and we were able to pack up some things early in the service. After I left I walked with my friend Caroline Cinquino to the basketball court to see about helping out with something. A guy was taking a picture of the word “PLAY” in childish chalk on the blacktop. I helped make the lines of the letters stand out more and color them in. Not a big deal, but it was cool to see those letters and the kids as the cover of the bulletin. I was telling Amanda about this when I heard a kid behind me talking to his friend about being there and how it was set up. I thought about how much fun it is to see something like a photo shoot behind the scenes and how much more exciting it is as a kid who is probably just realizing what all goes into creating a professional picture. I think the kid was Chris Kuhne’s, who was leading the band this morning.

After the service (8:30) we talked for a few minutes to Rob and Kristen and Ben and Jessica. Rob and Kristen decided they’d spent too much money eating out last night and went on home, but Ben and Jessica went with us to Salt Works II after sticking around to talk to a few people they knew. After breakfast we all headed off to our various homes. I mowed the front lawn while Amanda cleaned up inside. I also swept the roof (all the pine needles up there have been bugging me for a couple weeks now).

Mr. Henry, our elderly neighbor, came by as I was sweeping off the walkway. We talked for a while until Amanda’s parents, Karen and Phil Mercer, got here. Mr. Henry is putting his house up for sale at some point and mentioned needing an appraiser. He definitely does need one, because he bought his house about 12 or 13 years ago for about $60,000. We paid almost three times that for our house, and it was less expensive than others in the neighborhood that aren’t as nice. He looked astounded. I should have just bought the house for whatever he thought it was worth and turned right around to resell it. Or rented it out. It’d be nice to own two houses right next to each other.

So anyway, I’d mowed the front yard and cleaned up a little outside while Amanda picked up inside by the time Karen and Phil arrived. Phil had made a door and shelves for the cubbyhole next to the upstairs bathroom. The shelves are made from wood taken from the house that used to exist next to Anna and Barry’s house, which is nice because we now get a little history with our shelves. Amanda’s going to paint the door then I’ll put it up. We all had quick bites to eat then Phil and I sat around watching Patton (which is on my favorite movies list).

Eventually we all left to go to the Frazelles’ house for Kirsten Frazelle’s birthday party. Amanda’s grandparents, Earl and Peggy Lemons, got there shortly after we did. The place was crawling with friends of Hannah’s, who were over there to surf. They all hung out or left while the ladies went outside to talk on the porch and us menfolk watched the Minnesota Vikings beat our Carolina Panthers. We turned it on in the fourth quarter right at the play that lost the entire game for the Panthers. There was a punt and the guy who received it for the Panthers, instead of getting creamed, gave a lateral pass to another teammate, one who wasn’t at all expecting it. The ball bounced on the ground before it even got to him and the Vikings recovered it, tying up the game a few possessions later. It went into overtime and the Vikings made a field goal (at the goal line) to win the game.

We all sat around and chatted until dinner time. Hannah was napping on the hammock, so I went and spread some flower petals on her like she and Amanda did to me one time when I was napping on it. Michael showed up a few minutes before it was time to eat. He was checking his fantasy football stats. It looks like he’ll get another win and I’ll get another loss. The guy I was up against this week just had a really good week, while mine was just okay.

Dinner was nice. We all ate on the patio out back under the house. It was nice and cool and there weren’t any bugs to speak of. We ate stuffed shells and salad and bread. For dessert there was strawberry cake and ice cream pie. We all just had a generally fun time talking and joking and making fun of each other. You know, enjoying company. Kirsten then opened her birthday presents (including a necklace Amanda made). Her birthday is actually on Thursday, but she’ll be out of town on a field trip for that.

The Mercers and the Dotseys left shortly after that. It was about 7:00 or 7:30 and Karen and Phil had to drive back to Richlands and they’d ridden with me and Amanda on the way over. Amanda drove them back and I rode with Michael to give him some company.

Once at home Michael went to his room to watch football, Amanda watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and I went upstairs to play some StarCraft. I was playing with the Protoss against eight computer opponents and won. My dad called during that time and we chatted a bit. He asked if I could send some copies of the pictures I took while we were visiting Baba and Pap in Kentucky to them. He’s also got a set of golf clubs and a surf board that his friend Charlie Bowsher gave him for me. Charlie is a collector of stuff. Dad just hasn’t had an opportunity to give me anything yet, because I haven’t seen him or Mom since we were in Kentucky. We’re going to go visit them in a couple weeks.

Zach Dotsey