I got up, took a shower and ate some Capt’n Crunch then decided to start taking some more pictures.  I spent a lot of time today walking all around the house trying to get shots of everything and every room. Hopefully some of them come out okay.

In taking all those pictures I learned several things. I learned that Pap had once bought a crapload of Ziff, some kind of all-purpose cleaner, and told his boys to go sell it door to door to make some money. There were a ton of bottles still there. Dad and Bernie said they must have been there since the 1970’s.

I also learned that Pap was a very meticulous note taker from looking through his desk. He had all kinds of notes about things they’d done, like traveling iteneraries and times of phone calls and when people called him back. I had no idea.

I saw things in the house that I never noticed before. I found a world atlas from 1937 that belonged to Pap’s brother, Mike. It was in a stack with a few other magazines, including a couple about John F. Kennedy. There’s a white tile with a crudely-drawn topless blue mermaid on the mantle downstairs. There are lanterns that may or may not be from the mines in Pennsylvania where Pap grew up.

There’s even something Dad and Bernie had never noticed, which was a steel beam running the length of the house. It’s in plain site, but just wasn’t something that stood out. It was painted the same weird green used throughout the house. When they were inspecting that, which was in the storage part of the basement, they remarked that the back of the steps had never been painted.

At the back side of the yard is Tate’s Creek, which I have some vague memory of. The view of it is mostly covered by a thick blanket of thin trees that form a sort of wall that makes it hard to get to. I remember always being interested in it and I think I went back to see it a couple of times, but I feel like we were forbidden from going back there. Maybe my mom had said there were snakes back there that would bite us? I don’t know why, but that’s what’s in my head about it. Anyway, there is a little bit of a pathway through the thicket to get to it. There are spiderwebs and lots of gnats and the ground is covered in some kind of leafy vegetation, some weed I guess, but I went back there today and thought it was very pretty.

I think the furnace was replaced a while back. There used to be some slot in it where you could look through and see a blue flame. It always seemed mysterious and mystical to me, as had the whole garage area. It’s dark and quiet and out of the way, and I was most likely scared of it when I was little. I’ve always been fascinated with it, either way.

So, backing up to the morning again, I skipped out on the conference call to shoot some pictures, then Dad, Baba, Bernie and I went to Sayre, the community where Baba will be moving in a few weeks.  It really was a nice little place and it reminded me a little of a small apartment I lived in in Raleigh.  The community director (or whatever) was really nice and the view from Baba’s room looks out over a garden, a field and some woods beyond that.

On the way out Baba talked to a lady who was working on a puzzle in the library area.  It turned out that she was just a couple doors down from where Baba will be.  She told me later that she figured a lot of people are shy about making first contact with someone, so she plans to just say hi to everyone she sees and maybe next time they’ll say hi to her and then start striking up conversations.  I told her that it felt like she was moving off to college, that it could all be pretty fun.  I think she might be coming around to the idea of the move, and if she keeps her mind open I think she could really enjoy it.

After we checked out Sayre we stopped by Cheddar’s to eat.  Dad seemed to recall that Baba really liked the place.

When we got back to Baba’s house my cousin Felicia was waiting on the steps.  She and I walked around the house and reminisced while I took pictures.  Actually, I think I did most of the reminiscing, so I probably bored her to death.

While we were doing that Bernie had gone back to Sayre to measure some exact dimensions so he and Dad could set the living room up just like it will be in Baba’s apartment.  They even measured the entryway and where the windows will be.  After it was all set up they brought her in and showed it to her.  I thought it was a really sweet and nice extra touch.

Uncle Steve and Elizabeth, Felicia’s twin sister, showed up.  The brothers went golfing.  I was asked if I’d like to go, but I told them it would take forever with me since I’ve golfed all of once in my life, and that was years ago.  I stayed at the house and finished taking pictures.

The girls asked if I’d like a smoothie and I said I would.  They were gone for quite a while.  I had assumed they were driving, but they’d walked.  If I’d known they were walking I’d have gone along with them.  When they got back we all sipped on smoothies and watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy with Baba.

The Dotsey boys were out for longer than expected and my dad called to tell me to order some more Sir Pizza for dinner, so we had that.  Steve and the girls left a little after they all got back and Dad, Bernie and I went to go visit with the Quinns.

Mary Joe had a houseful of kids with her.  Rebecca and Allen had recently moved back from, I want to say somewhere near DC?  Their house sold ridiculously fast, so they were caught a little unawares and are staying with Mary Joe, though they’ll be moving out soon.  Anyway, they and their two kids were there along with Christian’s kids.  She and Gannero were working late.  We stayed over there for a while, talked, hung out.  We got to see the whole family except Hunter and Patty.

Over the past few days I’ve heard so many stories from people my dad knows.  My parents are friends with some very successful and outgoing people.  It really made me wonder what life would have been like if we’d stayed in Lexington and never moved to North Carolina.  What kind of person would I be, what friends would I have, what would I do for a living?

Hurricane Irene predictions are all over the place.  It’s down to a category 2 now though, and I think the prevailing wisdom is that it’ll land north of Wilmington, but that Wilmington will still get some bad weather.  Michael and Jenn are at the house with Amanda and Milly.  From talking to Amanda it sounds like Milly’s been good, though she keeps wanting to watch that craptastic Moonbeam Bear.

Amanda mentioned that there’s a leak in the window on the side of the house in our bedroom.  Huzzah.  Power is out all over parts of Wilmington and Leland, but things are fine at our place so far aside from the heavy wind and rain.

Zach Dotsey