Do you ever have just one of those weekends? A lot happens, new experiences surface, even a life milestone is accomplished? Well, last weekend was one of those.
Lets start with the milestone. The kid finally got her ears pierced! She has always been set against getting them done. We would ask and hint and bribe with shiny gifts, but the answer was always a huge no. It was starting to look like she would just go through life with no holes in her lobes. Then something changed. In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, the kid came up with the idea of getting the Mom some Wonder Woman earrings. She had them all picked out – which meant she had been looking at earrings and was all of a sudden interested in earrings. Flash forward to Mother’s Day and the Mom wearing her new flashy W’s while out on a family adventure when the kid announces – I want to get my ears pierced! Not only that, but look at all the earrings I want. She then got out her phone and showed us picture after picture of all the earrings she was now interested in. So this had been brewing for a while. She was all excited and would’ve gotten them done right there and then if she could. We waited a few weeks, though, and got them done last Sunday. She was brave, of course. Cool as a cucumber. A 15 year old cucumber who now has sparkly ears.
I posted previously how the kid had auditioned recently to play violin for the Bay Youth Concert Orchestra. This was an important audition because if she didn’t get in she would lose her opportunity to play at this high of a level. Her school orchestra isn’t as advanced as Bay Youth. If she couldn’t hang with the talent in Bay Youth, then should she be pursuing music in the future? Should we be thinking about music at the college level? She made it into the Strings Orchestra with Bay Youth a few years ago, but now needed to move up or move out. This is where the cutoff of playing at an intermediate level rises to having to play at an advanced level. Her audition was the weekend before last and we had been waiting all week for the results. Well, finally, on Thursday night they came in – and she passed! She made it into the Concert Orchestra! So it looks like she belongs and now for the next three years she will be surrounded by super talented peers, being challenged by very demanding pieces, and having the opportunity to develop her skills to even higher levels. We are so proud of her. She has been working so hard the past month or so preparing for this audition and now, because of it, she has a musical path ahead of her.
Road trip time! Saturday we took the hour or so ride to Smithfield, Virginia. What a great day it was. Saturday of Memorial Day weekend spent in small town America. We got there early so we could check out their weekly farmer’s market. There was produce and food and crafts and music. We tried some samples, got a handmade ice pop, a couple of sunflowers to carry around, some food to take home – and even did a pre noon wine tasting! The market was right off their Main St, so we wandered over to the shops and restaurants after checking out the market. It was festive being in a town like this on a holiday weekend. American flags were flying everywhere and in all the shops people were real nice – like they were happy to see us. That’s a striking change from the normal, right? At one store we were entertained out front by an old man playing the banjo and inside got to meet the lady who manages the market. She was really happy with that day’s turnout. She knew we had been because of the flowers my wife was carrying. Most everyone else we ran across in town knew too because they all asked about the flowers and how we enjoyed the market. Proud of their town. Another unusual but welcome occurrence in today’s world. At one point we needed to use the bathroom and headed into their restored courthouse where we ended up with a cool history lesson. No bathroom, though. We learned how some people that were found guilty of their crimes were nailed by their ear lobes out front the courthouse for everybody to look at. When they were allowed to leave, they had to tear themselves from the nails cutting gashes in their ears. That became the running joke all weekend with our daughter and her ear piercing adventure the next day. Actually, the coming ear piercing came up again in a funny way later on. Smithfield is known for their pigs and the food packing plant Smithfield Foods. Pigs are seen everywhere in the shops and in the restaurants. In one shop we got our daughter her first pair of earrings. A pair of flying pigs. You know, pigs would fly before she got her ears pierced? Well they are flying now!
For lunch we made our way to a brewery and restaurant down by the river. Wharf Hill Brewery. It’s a great place in an old historic building with seafood and southern fixings – and beer made on the premises. Really good food such as fried green tomatoes, fried shrimp, succotash, crab, chicken pot pie and huge hamburgers. A perfect feast which led to a long hike to work off the food. My wife and I have been wanting to take our daughter on this trail Smithfield has on the grounds of a restored old planation called Windsor Castle. We had hiked it before and this time got to show her. It’s a pretty hike along the river, over bridges, and through trees that circles the land around the house. It got a little hot, though, and we were pretty tired when we got back to the car for the hour trip home. But it was a great day – don’t you think?
So it wouldn’t be a weekend in our family without movies and this weekend wasn’t an exception. In fact we enjoyed two movies over the long weekend. The first one was the horror/comedy classic Shawn of the Dead. The kid is all into horror movies now and we had been telling her about this one. It is so funny and clever and it being in England makes it cool. Plus it was on Showtime for free, so we jumped on it’s zombie head Friday night. For Saturday we went with the kid’s suggestion. She went with a friend to see this movie called Before I Fall a few months ago and has been raving about it ever since. She keeps bringing it up, telling us she couldn’t wait for us to see it. Well, it came out on video recently so we bought it off iTunes and it was our after the long road trip day movie night. It was real good, too. Kind of a Groundhog Day rip off, but very thought provoking. It led to a lot of discussion after about life and your high school years and making good decisions. About being a good person and a good friend. It was a meaningful evening.
On Monday night the kid had a date. Kind of. She was invited by her “boyfriend’s” family to go to an escape room with them and then out to dinner after. In case you don’t know an escape room is like a real life video game where you are put in a series of themed rooms with a group of people and you have to use clues you are given to attempt to escape the room in set amount of time. You work with your team to find clues and work through the story until you either get out or run out of time. I had to do one as a team building exercise for work one time. It was pretty fun. Anyway, while the kid was on her date we had a little date ourselves. We went home, poured some wine, put on some music, and made the best dinner ever. Shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes all thrown together with butter and olive oil and New Orleans spices – and cooked in tin foil over the grill. It turned out really good. Amazing actually. It was a great way to cap off a pretty awesome weekend.
So that was pretty much it. The kid made it home, ate some of our food and was amazed too. She said they escaped their room and she had a good time. Our long weekend was over. What’s weird is that we have been going away for Memorial Day weekend ever since our daughter was little. For a while it was just me and my wife taking advantage of our one weekend a year to get away together. Lately it’s been all of us getting away. Because of our recent trip to New Orleans, we decided to stay home this year for the first time in forever. We were worried, though, that staying home would end up being a big disappointment. That we’d really regret not going to the mountains or to New York City or someplace. Well, there were no regrets…