Sunday, November 30, 2003

Back from vacation

O.K., I'm back. Miss me? Yeah, I didn't think so. Here's what I've been up to...

I'm married now. Misty and I got hitched on Saturday, November 22 at the Chapel in the Glades. Our minister was a funny-looking little guy with pointy teeth. Apparently nervous, Misty giggled uncontrolably throughout nearly the whole ceremony. We opted out of the video package in order to get more photos, so unfortunately, no evidence remains of her hysteria.

We rented a cabin in the mountains between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for our honeymoon. It was gorgeous up there. Our cabin had all sorts of nifty ammenities like a hot tub, porch swing, pool table, fireplace, and full kitchen. It was very cozy and relaxing.

On Monday, we drove up one of the mountains to Clingman's Dome — the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 6,643 feet. Weather in town had been cool, but as we ascended the mountain temperatures dropped steadily. We soon had to put on our coats, gloves, and hats to stay warm. By the time we got to the top, temperatures were at freezing, and with the wind chill they were well below that. Misty waited in the car while I made the ½ mile hike uphill even further to the observation tower. The wind made it rough going, but I made it. I took several snapshots of the clouds billowing over the mountains and rushed back down, lest I get blown off the tower. It was several minutes before I could feel my fingers again, but the trek was worth it.

Later that evening, we headed to the Dixie Stampede — a sort of rodeo dinner show. It wasn't the best rodeo I've seen, but it was very entertaining. They had the usual trick riding and barrel races along with chicken chasing, pig races, ostrich races, ice skating, and a Nativity re-enactment. The utensil-free dinner was much fun. I managed to eat everything put in front of me, including a bowl of soup, biscuit, barbecued pork loin, corn on the cobb, potato wedge, apple turnover, and a whole rotisserie chicken.

During the rest of our trip, we mostly just walked about town looking at the Christmas decorations and visiting the various little shops and outlet stores. The candy shops were my favorite. I made sure to get a free sample of fudge at each of the six that we stopped at. I was awed watching them make taffy and roll little candy sticks. I think we wound up buying about three pounds of fudge, and I've eaten most of it already.

The outlet stores were more of a disappointment. We went into a maternity store that had all the same clothes and same prices as at Brookwood Mall in Birmingham. The "outlet" music store had higher prices than most regular CD stores. I guess there's no restrictions on calling yourself an outlet. The Disney store was pretty cool, though. They had lots of stuff I don't normally see at the mall, and the prices were quite low. I just didn't want any of it. Oh, well. Any desire we had to spend money was certainly quenched at the outlet baby store, where we bought more than a dozen little outfits. My favorite is the one with Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar on the front and the words "but he was still hungry" on the back. And at 70% off, it was only around $4! Our baby is going to look adorable.

I tried to get some reading done while on vacation, but I only managed to finish one book. Nick Hornby's Songbook is fantastic. I started on Lost by Gregory Maguire and Dude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore, and hopefully I'll make it through both of them before I get overwhelmed by the holidays.

I've also been catching up on movies I've been meaning to see. Recently, I've rented and watched Bend it Like Beckham (wonderfuly funny), The Italian Job (thoroughly entertaining) Holes (solid fun, but not a classic), A Beautiful Mind (engrossing and moving), Legally Blonde 2 (dumb), Confidence (swift and witty), Tadpole (enjoyable, but not very believable), and The Santa Clause (cute, but wears thin quickly). Incidentally, I've found that not only does the Blockbuster by the Galleria have a far larger selection than the one near my house, but also almost all of their DVDs are widescreen.

For Thanksgiving, Misty and I headed to Atlanta to have dinner with my parents. As expected, there was way too much food. We brought home plenty of leftovers. Unfortunately, Misty's mom had to work on the holiday, so we brought her a big plate of food, too.

Although there were some great post-Thanksgiving sales, I skipped shopping on Friday. Unless you're buying a really big-ticket item or a whole bunch of stuff, it just isn't worth the hassle associated with that day. I'm already way beyond the point in my Christmas shopping where I was last year at this time, so I'm not concerned. Of course, last year I sent most of my gifts well after Christmas, but regardless, I'm doing well this year — trust me.

Friday night Misty and I went to the hockey game. I got a call a few days before saying that I'd won tickets. Unfortunately, even with free seats, the Alabama Slammers were a disappointment. Maybe I've been spoiled by living in Huntsville (the ice hockey capitol of the South), but the hockey scene down here is pathetic. The Pelham Civic Complex is far too small to be a respectable venue. There isn't a good seat in the house. Misty insists it was much better when the Bulls were at the BJCC. The Slammers played decent hockey, and the organization as a whole put on a good presentation, but the arena is so lousy that the ticket prices ($12-$25 each) are unwarranted. I'd really like to support the team, but I won't be returning.

Back at work now, I'm thrilled that I don't have any catching up to do. Much of this can be attributed to my line of work — yesterday's news is no longer news, so there's no need to worry about it. My co-workers, too, kept on top of things for me. Supposedly, we're making the move to the new office tomorrow. This line has been dangled in front of us time and time again, but this time it's really true! Probably. We'll see tomorrow.

Oh, and it was almost a week before I heard who won the Iron Bowl. Better luck next year, Chargers.

No comments: