Thursday, August 30, 2007
Crappy day
We were up too late last night, all of us. I didn't sleep well at all. I woke up hurting and tired. I even took ten minutes out of my morning routine to go back and lay in bed. When I dropped Emma off at Mary's she was whiny and crying. There was a new girl there and she was thrown off. Oh, and I didn't let her walk up the stairs first so she was in full blown whiner mode. I peeled her off of me and left, desperately wanting to drive straight through town and go on home.

I get to work. I soon discover that the air conditioning isn't working. I look at the thermostat. Some asshat has set it at 65 degrees. Lovely. I go outside and look at the air conditioning innards and they're incased by a solid block of white ice. Nice. I turn off the thermostat and psychologically prepare to swelter in the afternoon.

Then I discover the internet isn't working. Technically it is, but it's clocking at 25 kbps, less than half of dial-up speed. With a network of nine connected computers that's not gonna cut it. I run my diagnostics in house and then end up calling the internet/phone company. They promise to look into it. Joy, now internet is effectively out of business for the day.

I go to the bathroom. The light bulb is out. Gaaaaah! I have to call M and put in an order for him to change it for me when he brings the mail. I can climb a ladder, but even then it's too high.

At the end of the day internet was back. The phone company had to reset something and the manager of the phone company had come by to tell me personally (small towns do have their advantages). The light bulb in the bathroom was fixed. The air conditioner was refusing to come back on. It was completely thawed out, but the fan wouldn't kick on. Brilliant!

I took my whiny kid and my whiny self home after work and said forget it to the fair tonight. We need rest. We'll give it a go tomorrow night.

BTW, fair parade, rides and tons of fun with pictures occured last night but I'm too tired and ornery to blog it. So there.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Funny girl
Emma thought the jacuzzi in the master bathroom was pretty cool. And that was without water.

Ocracoke excursion
I'd hate to call it an ill-fated trip, but it was pushing it, that's for sure. Ocracoke Island is at the very tip end of the chain of barrier islands. It's only accessible by ferry. The idea was to give the kids the treat of a ferry ride, go to Teach's Hole, and see the village area where Popi wanted to show Noni a shop and check out the British Cemetery.

We began the day with a wait of over an hour to catch the ferry over. An hour sitting on the hot pavement. Then, when the ferry arrived, our car, third in line, didn't make the ferry. We had to take the next one. We were parked at the very rear of the boat which meant we sat over the exhaust. I about choked on the fumes the whole way over to the island. The indoor passenger area of the ferry was small and cramped and the a/c wasn't getting the job done. The ride sucked, quite frankly.

When we get to the island everyone heads down the highway, the thirteen miles it takes to get to Ocracoke village. My husband made himself super popular by pulling out of the caravan with no warning and turning into his ultimate destination, Teach's Hole. We had some difficulty and considerable angst gathering everyone together after that. M was happy because he accomplished his goal for the day, he bought Emma a pirate's hat at Teach's Hole.

Next we moved on to the village of Ocracoke. My grandmother decided it was time for lunch once we were in the village and we had considerable difficulty finding a place. Dining was al fresco everywhere and the heat was broiling. My grandmother is around 86 years old and has problems with her legs so dining in the broiling heat was not the optimal choice. We broke up the group so it would be easier to find sitting space, to no avail. They ended up eating at a dockside bar and grill set-up under umbrellas. I wondered if my grandmother thought we were trying to do her in, the conditions were so miserable. We honestly did the best with what we had to work with.

After the meal it was decided that grandmother needed to be in a/c, no matter what. Popi ended up giving her a driving tour of the few sites to see in the village. They swung by the British Cemetery and the Ocracoke Lighthouse. My little family bolted for the ferry after the cemetery because we had accomplished everything we'd set out to do and moving a crew of twelve around in three vehicles is a difficult mission under the best of circumstances. Plus, we were having Chinese food for supper and needed to get back to Hatteras Island.

The ferry ride back was considerably nicer for us. We got one of the good ferries that had tons of air conditioned indoor passenger space and lots of room on the observation decks. By the end of the trip we were feeling like it wasn't so bad after all.

Oh, and we somehow left all our cameras behind and everyone else was too overwhelmed by the conditions to remember to take pictures. Here's what we got...

Them on the ferry without us...

The one single picture taken on Ocracoke Island.

Them on the ferry ride back...without us.

Emma proudly wearing her pirate hat her daddy bought her at Teach's Hole. He bought her the pirate ship too. A love of all things pirate is something they share.

Another exciting event...
The tooth fairy visited our beach house.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
On Thursday afternoon we went to the Hatteras Lighthouse. My brother's family had never been to Hatteras before so they were obligated to climb the lighthouse. You can read more about it here. It's quite a climb, but the last time I did it I was four months pregnant so I could probably manage it without having a heart attack, even though I'm well above fighting weight. We'll start with their new post card. I love this stylized card so much I bought the t-shirt had bore it.

There it doesn't look so bad. On the other hand it's twelve stories high and 248 iron spiral stairs to climb. Yikes!

No sweat, right?

Ah, we made it. Let's grope my wife's belly to celebrate! Woo hoo!

A view north. To the right of the middle of the picture you can see how narrow the island becomes between villages. Just goes to show you how vulnerable Hatteras is to hurricanes.

Hey look! Ant people! And they're waving at us!

The iron railing around the observation deck. Not so reassuring. Truthfully they mentioned it to us before we went up. They said there was no danger and asked us to please not pick at it.

Aunt K. and the girls.

Popi doing his imitation of what Noni would be doing if she were with us.

Probably an unauthorized view, but a pretty cool picture.

On the way back down. Honestly, the trip seemed longer going down. I don't understand it.

The girls having fun in the observation area on ground level.

Monday, August 27, 2007
Sun-kissed, tan, tannest
That's no trick of light, Little J. really is that dark.

Daddy photo shoot
Featuring "the dress." Noni and Popi gave this dress/cover-up to Emma. They brought it back from Mexico when they went on their cruise in February. When I put it in Emma I thought it was adorable. Daddy did too. He only shot about 147 pictures of her in this dress. No kidding.

Potty Training, Take One
Sunday morning we decided to start potty training in earnest. We've been discussing it for a long time and prepping Emma. I can't figure out if she's ready or not because she still doesn't seem to be bothered about what's in her diaper and she never tells us when she needs to pee. Anyway...

We got her up and went straight to the potty and then put on her Dora panties. We took her to the potty on a regular schedule, not even asking if she had to go. Despite all this...

Two hours later she had peed through all three pairs of Dora panties. She never gave any signal she was going to pee she just did it. I decided that perhaps we weren't ready after all. After she soaked the third pair of panties I said, "That's it, I guess it's back to diapers for you." Her reply...

Pamlico Sound
On Tuesday we tried out the Pamlico Sound at an area the locals refer to as Canadian Hole. It's a popular spot for sail boarders and kite boarders. It's also very popular with families.

The surf at Hatteras is just too rough for kids. Hell, most days it was too rough for adults. On my first foray into the ocean I was having a great time at first. The waves were huge, they were all doubles and triples, and you had to keep alert for your own safety. Then things went wrong. I got my ass handed to me about three times in a row. I quickly learned that diving under the waves was impossible as I got washed up on the beach three times. I had sand and larger particulate matter jammed down (and up!) my bathing suit and into my nether regions. It was fun, I tell ya. I had abrasions on my knees and hands and I was cleaning sand out of my ears for two days.

The sound, on the other hand, was great. It was as warm as bath water and there were gently lapping waves. We all went straight in and loved it. Even Emma walked into the water and kept on walking until it was to her shoulders. She got smacked in the face by a wave one time but soldiered on. I was so proud of her.

We ended up spending between four and five hours there. It was a great place for kids because the surf was mild and the sand gently sloped out for a long, long way. Fantastic day.

The ever resourceful Uncle B. makes his own shade.

Happy as a clam. Which reminds me...we did find a clam in the water, still closed. They brought it home and put it in a cup with sound water but it never did open. Probably starved to death. Ick.

This group was next to us. Then in front of us. I thought this picture did an awesome job of conveying the spirit of fun that day at Canadian Hole.

Momentous firsts
Her cousins were getting their toenails painted by their mommy and Emma brought a bottle over to me. How could I say no? I did choose the palest pink, though. Carrying on the conservative nail polish for kids tradition.

Sunday, August 26, 2007
Playmate wanted...
Yesterday on the trip home we stopped at McDonalds in Edenton, NC. We ate our lunch together and Emma was antsy to get outside and play in the playland. In order to make sure she stayed in her seat I told her if she got down she wasn't going out to play. Daddy finished his lunch and went to the bathroom and for a smoke. He said when he got back he'd take her out to the playground, if she was still being a good girl. The strain on Emma must have been horrendous. She watched for him to come around the corner with marked intensity.

Eventually a black man with cornrows and business clothes came around the corner with his lunch, minding his own business. Emma looked at him and asked very loudly, "Is that my daddy?" The guy follows the little voice to my white-haired toddler, who was pointing to him hopefully. He burst out laughing. I said, "No, Emma, that's not your daddy." The guy was so tickled that he told his friend when he joined him a few seconds later. Then another friend joined them, "Is that my daddy?" "No, Emma, that's not your daddy." Just so they didn't think we were sitting in the McDonalds soliciting potential fathers I explained, "She's waiting for her daddy to take her to the playground." They were pretty amused.

Daddy did eventually show up and they played for a few minutes, despite the fact that it had to be over 100 degrees out there. Emma's very dedicated to play.
Our home last week
We stayed in Avon, NC on Hatteras Island. The house we stayed in was Carolina Girl. We used the pool and hot tub every single day. You can tell the house was well-loved by the owners, based on all the time they'd put in custom decorating it themselves. There were murals and hand-touches everywhere. Here's a picture of the pool in use:

Hot tub in use: