Work rushed by this morning. There’s so much I was trying to get done before the weekend. I was only moderately successful in accomplishing all I wanted to.

Adam came by the house around 3:00. He’d gotten off early, had lunch with his girlfriend Renee Sikes, washed some laundry, packed and came over. He played a little Guitar Hero II, but when Michael came in from doing a little running around he asked him for tips on playing the real guitar, so Michael tutored Adam for the next couple hours. Adam was pretty excited to learn.

Amanda got home around 5:20-ish and we had everything loaded up, along with Adam’s stuff and Bruce, filled up the gas tank and were on the way by about a quarter til six. I called my parents to let them know and they said Andra, Josh and Jackson should be there in Rougemont before long.

The trip to the Rouge was pretty uneventful. They’d shut down the construction that caused the delays we had to circumnavigate near Clayton last week, so it was pretty smooth sailing. We did run into some rain, and while it was heavy for a bit it wasn’t too bad. I think it was heading towards Wilmington, which is good. We need the rain and we won’t be there for it to keep us from the beach this weekend. Adam and I spent a lot of time talking about music and jobs.

And speaking of jobs, I mentioned something about a raise to my boss today. He was receptive, which will hopefully be good for me.

Upon arriving at the Dotsey homestead in Rougemont, North Carolina we saw our young nephew Jackson out in the yard. He saw us pull up and immediately ran over to the car. The boy has a long, shaggy mop of his nearly-white blond hair, which is adorable. We played with him for a minute then saw Josh Sawyer, his dad. Josh’s hair had gotten a bit longer too. I told him with the hair and the stubble and the shirt he was wearing (and the fact that he’s about a full foot taller than I am) he looked a bit like Thor, which he thought was cool.

Mom and Andra pulled up in the white truck pulling the horse trailer shortly after we got there. Dad was on the porch grilling a smörgåsbord. He had burgers, hot dogs, kielbasa, all kinds of stuff. I mean it was just a huge pile of meat under the hood of the grill. Aunt Reggie was there too. She was reading in the living room when we came inside. She thought I looked cute, and really she was right.

A moment to explain my wardrobe. I’m not sure why it is, but when I travel on long trips I like to wear a white (or at least mostly white) t-shirt under a short-sleeved button-up shirt with some khaki shorts and a backwards baseball cap. No idea where this came from, but it’s what I like to do. And so that’s what I was wearing (figuring I’d wear what I was already wearing for tomorrow’s trip).

We noticed that Dad was wearing some flip flops. Last week he’d mentioned wanting to get some and we recommended Rainbows to him, which I think literally everyone in Wilmington wears on a day-to-day basis, or at least when they don’t have to wear a certain kind of footwear for work. Anyway, we figured that instead of giving him the Lowe’s gift card we’d forgotten to bring last week that we’d pick up a pair of Rainbows for him since we talked to highly of them and let him try out mine.

So Dad said he’d looked for some Rainbows but couldn’t find any and settled for the Ocean Pacifics he was wearing. We gave him his Father’s Day card then presented him with his gift, lovingly wrapped up in a plastic shopping bag from Sweetwater (where we purchased the Rainbows). He was pretty excited to get them, but we decided we should have gotten the next size up, so we’ll exchange them later. Oh well.

In case you’re wondering, the Lowe’s gift card went towards buying the white river stones that are lining half of our garden beds.

We all talked and played with Jackson and ate. After dinner I hooked up my Xbox 360 to the ridiculously huge TV Dad had bought off Adam’s boss and introduced Dad, Josh and Andra to the wonder that is Guitar Hero II. Adam and I played a couple songs to show them how it’s done, then Josh and Dad both tried it out and got booed off, but did much better on their second attempts. They both really dug it. Dad liked it as much or more than I’d figured he would since I bought the game. He was moving to the songs and singing and hamming it up. It was great.

I went to Mom and Dad’s room to see what Jackson was up to. He’d gotten Mom to put in a VHS of Walt Disney’s Peter Pan and he invited me to sit on the bed and watch it with him for a bit. He told Mom she could go. After a few minutes Amanda came in and she watched some of it with him, so I went back to the living room to watch the Guitar Hero antics. Andra was playing at this point, and she was a natural. She had the stance, the head-bobbing and she was really good at it on her first attempt.

Mom didn’t get a chance to play, but Dad kept telling her she had to check it out. I’m sure she’ll have plenty of opportunity this week. Dad really liked it. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he got an Xbox 360 by the next time I go to Rougemont just for that. Or maybe a Wii if he waits long enough for the next Guitar Hero (which will feature 80’s songs) to come out.

Most of the rest of the night was everyone playing Guitar Hero until we played Mad Gab. It was Amanda, Andra and Josh versus me, Dad and Adam. Mad Gab is a game where one person looks at one side of a card that has a phrase written on it. On the other side of the card, facing whoever else is on the team, there’s a string of words that don’t make any sense, but sound similar to the phrase on the other side. For example, one side could say Pull Mike Hurt Knee, and the answer would be Paul McCartney. (I just came up with that off the top of my head.) Anyway, my team started off a little rough but we came back and could have won but for a poor final round.

Amanda went to bed after that. We did our reading then she went to sleep. I watched Adam and Josh play some on Guitar Hero then went upstairs to play Global Conflict. I’ve only got a few games still going on in that. All of my games have ended up being playable at night. See, the way it works is you get one turn per day, and you can go as early as twenty-three hours after your last turn or any time after that. I used to have a number of games staggered throughout the day- before work, around lunch, after work and later at night. Due to various circumstances (work being busy, working a little late, going out and doing things on the weekend) all my games got bottlenecked into later at night. As late as I did them tonight, and knowing the lack of internet we’ll have at Baba and Pap’s house, I suspect my game will change time again. That’s okay though- I’ve only got a few that are still going on.

I’ve actually done quite well at that game. I’ve won quite a few (although probably not as many as I’ve lost, but the law of averages have got to really be against that anyway). Some I’ve won because my friend Jason Revill and I had non-aggression pacts until it got down to pretty much just the two of us, but I’ve won a number of games on my own. I’ve won most of them that have come down to me and Jason, but one or two are still going on where I think he’s got me.

While I was doing that Mom asked me for some advice on laptops. She wants to get a new one that will let her edit video and pictures, so I suggested a lot of RAM and a decent video card, plus making sure that it had a Firewire port on it, although I think just about all laptops have that now. She also wanted it to have a DVD burner, which isn’t quite as standard a feature as I thought it’d be by now.

Zach Dotsey