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Screw It, One More Day In North Cakalaki

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

Quote of the Day: “I have an underwater camera just in case I crash my car into a river, and at the last minute I see a photo opportunity of a fish that I have never seen.”

- Mitch Hedburg

It was Brent’s idea to go running in the morning so I was glad that he kept me honest. I guess I’ve become sort of “the guy who runs” so when I visit, it was pretty much assumed that we would go running.

The run was unique for a simple reason: I’m not used to running with anyone. Yes, I’m a solo runner for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t know anyone who runs as much as I do. Second, my schedule is funky so I run when I can. Third, I normally don’t like to go as fast or as slow as someone else. Fourth, I’m a dick.

OK, maybe not so much that last reason but I thought I’d throw that in.

We ran for a good hour and I introduced Brent to my 9-and-1 strategy where I run for nine minutes and walk for one. I explained to him that when I tell people “I ran 40 miles” that they just assume I get my running crap on and start running like Forrest Gump and stop when I reach my mileage. That’s soooo far from the case.

I break up the run into 9 minute runs with 1 minute walk breaks. That covers about a mile and I get a little reward every 9 minutes which keeps me going. It also gives me a chance to adjust anything annoying and get a drink of water. Sometimes I even stretch the break to a minute and a half but then I question my manliness and get to running again.

After chatting it up (I’m sure Brent had had enough of my jabbering by the time we were done), we returned to the house to enjoy the perfection that is coffee in the morning.

For entertainment, we decided to go to Onslow Beach right there on Camp Lejeune but by the time we got everything (read: the kids) ready, a storm had rolled in and the clouds were threatening. By the time we got to the beach, it was the pre-storm cloudiness and wind combo which made, what we were told, the biggest waves they had ever seen on the beach.

The kids went right for the water and for those of you that have kids, you know how it goes. First, it’s their feet. Then their shins. Then their thighs. It didn’t take long before they were wet all the way up to the waist, especially my own son. He gets that from his mother.

The adults stood away from the frigid water and just looked out at the ocean. On the beach we saw these big clumps of sand-colored foam which kind of shimmered in the wind, making them look a lot like big mounds of fat jiggling. It was utterly nasty and when one clump would break loose, it would tumble at you. Brent scurried off more than once making sounds like a little girl but I chose to ignore that, him being a LtCol and all.

It became pretty obvious that the storm was rolling in and we could actually see the sheets of rain getting closer and closer so we herded the kids in, got them cleaned up, and jumped in Brent’s minivan. A few moments later, the rain came down like gangbusters.

As we drove home, we were discussing this and that just like good friends do when all of the sudden, lightning struck. It didn’t strike us directly but it did decide that the telephone pole with the transformer on top a mere 30 feet or so away was a good spot to unload a few thousand volts.

The sound was deafening and combined with the fork of lightning streaking down from the sky and the sound of the transformer blowing, I’m told that both my head and Brent’s head dove down between our shoulders as though out necks were trying to take up residence in our torsos. This, of course, was relayed to us by our lovely wives between uncontrolled fits of hysterical laughter.

All I remember is seeing sparks shooting out of the top of the transformer like a fountain and an enflamed power line falling from it.

OK, everyone was awake then.

We got back to the house and made our plans for the night. The kids would be getting Sonic and the adults (and Brent) would be going out for a steak dinner.

In Jacksontucky, there has blossomed a restaurant industry to rival downtown Manhattan. Obviously, no one within a 100 mile radius of this town ever buys anything at the store and prepares it at home. Instead, they hop in the jalopy and skidaddle down to one of the millions of eating establishments offered.

And if your hankerin’ is steak, then you’re covered. They have Texas Steakhouse. They have Texas Roadhouse. They have Logan’s Steakhouse. They have Outback Steakhouse. They probably have Logan’s Texas Outback Road-And-Steak House, judging by the “imitation is the best form of flattery” situation that goes on. They all seem to be flattering the hell out of each other.

I really don’t know what we went to. One of the Texas ones where we could eat peanuts and throw them on the floor. At least I hope we could. If not, I may be a legend there now.

By the way, what a scam. Mexican places have to serve up chips and salsa and the good ones have to warm them. These steak houses just offer you a bucket of peanuts (literally) and call it good. You get to munch on whatever the last schlep left behind and if you think you can abstain, yeah, go ahead. I think I ate 14 pounds while waiting for my food.

That may have also had something to do with the beer served in a tall glass approximating a wine carafe with a handle. I had two of these bad boys and by the time the steak and ribs I ordered appeared, I was not exactly starving my ass off.

But I did my best and left there feeling like I had swallowed a small child. The rest of the food we saved for Buster since he’s been in the pen since we left and we will be seeing him tomorrow. He should be somewhat insane by then. I mean, more than usual.

Actually, we had planned to leave this morning but were having such a good time that we decided to spend the day and extra night. We weren’t picking up Buster until tomorrow regardless so we decided to stay and I would just extend my leave one more day. After all, I had to have a full day at home before I went back to work if only to try to tackle the backlog of emails and blog entries.

So we went back to our friends’ house and relaxed for the evening. Brent put in a wrestling movie that was so dumb, I’ll never get those 2 hours back no matter what I do. Yeah, there were a few one-liners but on my death bed, I’m gonna wish I had that time back. Hopefully that won’t be my last thought.

My last thought tonight was much better. I was thankful to have good friends and was glad we got a chance to spend some time with them.

Free Advice for Today: “Cherish your children for what they are, not for what you’d like them to be.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

5 Comments - Join in the conversation below

  1. Onslow Beach is awesome – now that I know how to get there LOL.

    I was following directions that I’d got over the phone (and I have NO internal compass AT ALL.) I pulled over at that light at the turn to Onslow Beach (coming in from the front gate) at taps and totally missed the left turn to the drawbridge. I did look for the sign, but the 7 ton in front of me at the light blocked it and I merrily went on – all the way to the back gate.

    The gate guard, who watched me back an SUV around in a bootlegger turn on the civilian side, did a “Ma’m are you lost?” I was so upset, in my head I was saying, “No, son, I just like to drive in circles around a man with a rifle!! Hell yes, I’m lost!!!” But I was polite – young Marines are SO sweet to Marine Moms .

    Luckily Deb had held dinner, but it was NOT the way I wanted to meet her hubby – first impressions and all that. He probably thinks I’m a total ditz.

    Glad you all are home and that Buster was sprung from the ‘brig’.

    Comment by Karla — April 27, 2006 @ 12:49 pm

  2. Karla, I’ve never gotten lost. Ever.

    Comment by Administrator — April 27, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

  3. If I have a compass and a map, I’m golden. I actually did well with orientering BECAUSE I can’t second guess the map. But seriously, I get lost in my home town, and you know Topeka isn’t all that big. I will swear on a stack of Bibles that I’m going north until the sun comes up in my face (happened ). Katie and JC described this last trip to Jacksonville as “the vacation /liberty of driving around in circles”. I don’t blame them.

    And ::ahemmm:: “Never”???????

    Comment by Karla — April 28, 2006 @ 9:30 am

  4. Karla, if you knew me, you would know how utterly facetious my last comment was. I’m surprised no one who knows me piped in on that one. I get lost in the shower.

    Comment by Administrator — April 28, 2006 @ 9:23 pm

  5. LOL – I knew that – I’ve read your back blogs and remember some of your ‘adventures in navigation’. It sounds like we have the same problem. Until I manage to construct a ‘mental map’ of an area, I’m a menace. I think it’s because I relate better to the written word than to visual cues. My brain’s just wired that way, I guess.

    Comment by Karla — April 30, 2006 @ 12:39 am

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