So here we are in the western mountains of North Carolina. We went the southern route home, through a bit of Tennessee, which we haven’t done in a really long time, so that we can drop Jackson off in Gastonia. We got up at 6:00 this morning and were out of Baba and Pap’s after saying bye to them and Uncle Tom (who was going to the airport a little later this morning) and Aunt Terry by a few minutes after 7:00. We stopped by Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks then left Lexington. As I had done a couple days ago, I was explaining the difference between want and need to Jackson on the way out of Chick-Fil-A. He had told us he needed to go back on the playground.

Most of us napped for a couple hours. Jackson spilled a bunch of water in his car seat, but fortunately we were stopping at a gas station. Unfortunately in the rest room he dropped one of his flip flops in the urinal, so I carried him out in his pull up. On the way out he pointed to a kid wearing an Incredibles shirt and said “That mine.” Poor kid- he looked confused by that.

We stopped at a place for Adam to pick up some fireworks then continued on our way to Gastonia. Mom announced to us, by the way, that Andra and Josh have decided to get married in two weeks. Andra told Mom this last night. Amanda, Adam and I all suspect that she’s pregnant, and as we discovered when we dropped Jackson off at his other grandmother’s house (that would be Josh’s mom, Paige), Andra does have another baby on her mind. Apparently, even though they still get major financial and time assistance from their parents and they’d be hard pressed to devote another room of their house to a fourth living being, Andra and Josh want to have another kid soon. From the sounds of it, I don’t think anybody at all is too sure of the wisdom of such actions.

Anyway, Amanda napped a bit and I know Adam and I both had some good sleep. Jackson was good too. While I was awake, as we dipped down into South Carolina, he and I played with his stuffed Curious George and had a good time with it. He laughed a lot and when we told him we were taking him to his Mee Maw’s house and that his daddy was going to pick him up, he said he didn’t want to go there, that he wanted to go to Mum Mum’s house. Despite that fact, when we did drop him off with his Mee Maw, he was very happy to see her.

From there it was a few more hours to Rougemont. We made one more stop for gas and Mom and Dad stopped to get some groceries in Hillsboro (instead of going all the way back into town after they got home). During that stop the rest of us got some Subway to eat for dinner.
Mom and Dad had their driveway entrance widened and an ever-occurring dip filled in while they were gone. They were also having an old gas tank removed, but sadly our Jetta was parked nearby and had become covered in dusty dirt from the requisite digging. Amanda was already a bit moody, I suppose from being in the car for so long already, and she was very not happy about the car. I was a bit ticked off, but she was extremely displeased.

Anyway, we packed everything into our Jetta (which looked like it’d been off-roading) and headed on back to Wilmington. We made one short stop at the fish store at North Duke Mall so Adam could check in on the place and see if they had anything he wanted for a reasonable price (which they did not) and then we went on home. We got into Wilmington right around 9:00, for a grand total of 14 hours of driving today. Fourteen hours. That’s more than half the day. Look at a map: we went from Lexington, Kentucky, down into Tennessee and into Asheville, North Carolina, dipped down into South Carolina then back up to Gastonia, took 85/40 all the way to Hillsboro and northern Durham, then all the way back down to Wilmington. We made a giant backwards N today.

So we got home, unpacked our stuff. Cobb was happy to see us. Adam loaded his stuff back into his car and was going to set off a small firecracker, but Amanda told him not to, as she knew how people got annoyed with the people down the road who set them off from time to time. Personally I didn’t mind, as yesterday was the Fourth of July and if there’s any time of the year people expect to hear some residual fireworks, it’s around now. I wasn’t going to argue with her though, because she was right. I think Adam was a little wounded though.

Tonight I set all the bills to go out and then worked on going through all the pictures that were taken this weekend.  I copied all of the ones everyone else had taken from the CD I burned on Aunt Terry’s computer the other day and put everything in one big folder then tossed out the ones that either had nothing to do with our Kentucky trip or were of things not concerning me or were just too fuzzy or dark or whatever to be of any use.  Then I did a bunch of quick color correction (mostly Auto Layers in Photoshop) then cropped a bunch of them. My biggest beef in having other people take pictures is that most people don’t think about picture composition.  Cropping helps the problem some, but if you want to maintain a certain aspect ratio, such as one conducive to printing your picture on any standard-sized piece of photo paper, you’re limited to how much you can crop.  I will say that the pictures my own mother took tended to need less work than a some of the others.  (No offense, Uncle Tom, Aunt Terry or Sam.)

Zach Dotsey