Almighty Travelogue - Edition 2nd

DISCLAIMER: Still stands from part I.

After parting with Emmy and boy, I drove the icy roads back to Christi's (only like 5 minutes away, so no worries), and crashed.

December 20th, 2008 - Saturday
After sleep that went by way too fast, I drug myself out of bed to head for the Bob Evans, once again as tradition dictates. Breakfast with Melissa. We invited others, like Steph, but no one came. So it was just us two. She got biscuits and gravy like always. I got something that I don't remember, so it wasn't exceptionally delicious. We chatted it up for a good few hours, then went to her house to see Mommers and Dadders. After chilling and catching up with the 'rents, I went back to Christi's where she and Jess were hard at work constructing a gingerbread house. After getting the walls in the right places (Christi tried to make the roof pieces the walls) we realized that the instructions insisted we let each piece dry for 30 minutes. What?! What kind of destroy-a-kid's-attention-span-and-leave-the-candy-fun-to-the-parents-with-no-time-conspiracy IS THIS?!!! Sigh. So we went to lunch. This time with Becky Alexander (formerly Renna). She has TWO kids now! We caught up on everything and everyone and just enjoyed Panera Bread. After that Becky opted to "kidnap" me and then we went to her house to see her kids, Ava and Clarice. They were super cuties. We looked at pictures of her mission trips and watched a MacBeth movie we made in 10th grade that Alan has on his myspace. It was TORTURE. No wonder everyone thought we were out of our minds back then. Yeesh.

When I got back from Becky's we did gingerbread house round 2. Once the roof was in place, we thought we were good to go and did not wait 30 minutes, just started our detriment. DISASTER. The whole house began to cave. We tried to salvage it, but it was no use. The gingerbread house was dead. (Note the GAP in the far wall... eee)

Once we gave up trying to repaste the roof (we ran out of icing), it was dinner time, so off to Max n Erma's. I got to see Jillybean! She’s still just as fun as always with her little voices and silliness. Dinner was good times and good eats. After dinner we ditched the kid and Christ’s parents and wanted to do something fun. Like go out for drinks or go bowling. We ended up at Lissa’s house and decided that Monopoly was an adequate substitute and would provide ample entertainment. Mel was the first to bite the dust, and Jill struggled. Christi had money dripping out of her nostrils, and was declared the winner. I protested since I was totally holding my own, but they forced the game to end. Stop in the middle and count our money and properties? Blasphemy! I still refuse to concede defeat. Becky was seeing a play with her hubby, and when it was over she came. For the most amazing three minutes all four girls were in the same room! This was unprecedented and had not happened in almost 7 years!!! I didn't think it would ever happen again, but it did. We took a pic even as proof. Amazing. I = not only World Changer, but now The Connector as well. :)

I tried to get Alan to come over but he was locked up with a computer problem he couldn’t get around. Christi had to leave to get Jess from her parents and Becky sat down and the 4 of us remaining chatted and reminisced and it was wonderful. I loved it, especially Jill and Becky going back and forth about High School memories.

Eventually around 1am, we were tired, and parted. The ice was worse than the previous night. I seriously almost biffed it off the porch but caught myself. And there's no picture as proof. Becky took me home graciously, thanked me for inviting her, and then I went to bed.

December 21st, 2008 - Sunday
Got up, got ready, went to church.

My old ward that I left in 2001 and never looked back. It was insane how many people were STILL there. I saw the Waits, the Adams, the Hartwells, the Huffners, the Wynns, the Emmers, the McKnights, the Slacks, the Maddens, even Shane Kelson. Billy was there with her weirdo husband and uber pregnantness, and I avoided them at all costs. Emmy and I talked pretty much through the whole sacrament meeting looking around and trying to remember who that man was, and whose kid that was, and how long this family had been in the ward, etc. Although Uli Simcox, my fav seminary teacher was there and gave a wonderful talk. Em and I both love her, so we did listen during that. Michael Walker and wife were there with their new baby and sat next to us. I ducked my head into Pickerington ward and saw Sarah Peterson and the McHardys, which was neat.

I loved seeing all these people I had grown up with and how'd they changed, who remembered me, and who stared knowing they knew me but having no clue how. The one interesting thing I felt was that it was no longer my home, though I still (and probably always will) claim it as my home.

Then I had lunch with Mr. Grayem. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. He was my 10th grade English Teacher for half the school year, before he retired because his wife was sick. He had been the OWE (Occupational Work Experience) Program Director for a number of years. Basically this is the kids who get suspended/have little work ethic who go to school only part-time and have jobs the rest of the time. Mr. Grayem loved these kids and worked extensively with them, making a difference in their lives. Then he got our class, which he was in no way used to teaching. A regular english class. (Funny thing was Becky, Melissa, Alan... all of us were in this class. Because we all decided together that we didn't feel like taking Advanced English that year and wanted something easy, lol). Having lots of experience with problem kids, he felt sorta out of his league teaching us regulars. He told us repeatedly he was intimidated by us, and wasn't sure how to teach us to make sure we were ready for 11th grade. Well, whatever he did, he did it right. He is by far the teacher (though he was only there half the year) that had the most impact on my pre-college schooling. When I called him to tell him this, he didn't really remember me, but said he'd be happy to have lunch. I was flattered and lunch could not have gone better if I had planned the whole conversation out beforehand and written it.

When we sat down, we just started talking...and didn't stop. The poor waitress! She knew she was absolutely interrupting every time she came to our table. We didn't order for like 30 minutes because we didn't even look at our menus. Mr. Grayem told me after we talked on the phone that he'd gone to the school archives and looked at yearbooks and anything else he could find to try and remember me and had partly put it together in his head. But the NOW me he called "refreshing," "put together," and "astounding." He could not believe how busy I'd been - all that I've accomplished in the last 10 years. He said the foundation that I’ve laid for myself is incredible, commendable, and he applauded me on my lack of debt, etc. He commented he always knew I was smart, but he was impressed with the amazing journey I’ve been on. "And," he said, "I don’t even know the half... a quarter of it. Do I?" The twinkle in my eye betrayed me. "And you’re not going to tell me either are you? Because you’re not one to pat your own back." Depends on my mood? lol

He was so grateful that I had come, especially when I explained that he had the greatest impact on me as a teacher. I mean, when he taught it wasn't book stuff. It wasn't grammar or principles. He taught us to learn, and love learning. And he taught us practical ideas that directly applied to everyday life. Which was phenomenal, and gave me so much direction. This was the man who showed me The Power of One and The War. Teachings... examples like that were unmatched in my life at the time. He was deeply moved and grateful for my gratitude.

He also commented off-handedly that he could tell by my voice that I was still “playful” Hee Hee. ;) Indeed I am.

Mr. Grayem loved that I’d really taken advantage of the educational system. I used it to get me places, to get me what I want and need. He respected that I “got out” and went somewhere. He said there were people who were scared to leave Ohio, scared to leave the community even. Not me. I struck out and I made things happen. I agreed readily. Tangent: It's astonishing to me how many people from my class are still in the town, and have seemingly done near to nothing with their lives. I don't want to be critical, but I just felt so overwhelmed by the shock and realization. I even felt a little guilty for having got out and done something. The majority of them are waiters, or cooks at restaurants. Yeah, you make tips, and it's a job... but I know that I am meant for bigger things. I don't want that to sound prideful or scornful, but it's the truth I feel in my bones and blood.

He was duly impressed with my fiercely independent spirit. He asked me what my parents made of me. Were they proud? Was I admired? Were they sad I had cut myself so loose? I remarked that my mother was more aware of my drive for independence than even I had been.

Anyway, I could go on and on about our conversation. Needless to say it was just beautiful. And I LOVE MR. GRAYEM. He was the only teacher ever that made me want to be a teacher too.

After we eventually ate, he took me to the Lorencen's where I reviewed lunch then helped Emmy wrap her Christmas presents while mom and dad made dinner. I miss the Lorencen's so much. I mean just watching the back-and-forth exchange that transpired over putting the dining room table together was enough to make me want to stay forever. I love the way they "interact" (read: bicker and argue, lol)

Dinner was served and Colleen came over with Candler. She was more reserved and introverted than I remember, but so it goes. After dinner they wanted a reading, and so I gave them Hero Material but it didn't come off near as funny as it had at NULC. Hmm. Something to think about. I read some other pieces which were moderately received (according to my perceptions) and then Colleen left and Rene was pretty much falling asleep, so we called it a night. I chatted briefly with Emmy, but we had no where near enough alone time to get out all our drama and secrets and the need-to-share information we usually trade with one another.

When I got home Christi was watching a documentary on 9/11 and I sat on the couch and watched with her, the fiesty little kitty promptly jumping up and falling asleep on my legs (something he never does with Christi). That went on for a while, then I had to pack everything in preparation of going home.

All in all, Ohio was such a great trip, and so needed, and I love and miss everyone that I got to see. I will be absolutely honest about the multiple people desiring me to come back. I want to. I would love to. BUT I CAN'T. Because I know what would happen. I would gravitate to those I love most who are struggling and having problems and needing me, and I would fill those holes. Case-in-point: I would fill the missing dad role in Jessie's life, and become a husband to Christi. And that would only be the beginning. While I'm not entirely opposed to this, it's not wholly fair to me. Because it relegates me prisoner to the needs and broken bits of others. That is why I keep my distance, Ohio. That.

December 22nd, 2008 - Monday
Early, early, we headed to the airport and I said goodbye once more to dear friends, and even dearer memories. I will always love Ohio even if I know I can never truly go back, much I want to.

I landed in Florida, and my dad picked me up with Ryan then had to go to the store. I was starving so he dropped me and Ry at a StakeNShake, and we got lunch. Dad told Ry he was limited to $5. I told him get whatever he wanted, and then I paid.

After that we went outside to a nearby Christmas Tree lot and got branches from their dumpster for my mom. She loves the smell of the needles and doesn't have a real tree, so I always get her scraps to put on the mantle. After like 2 hours we were finally home. Longest pick-up from the airport ever, lol. Then I needed to do my Christmas Shopping still (except my mom, Krys, and Bro), so I took Ry and Bro and we went to the mall. I got a Jigsaw (not the puzzle) for my dad, and thought of a series of books J hasn't read, but they only had 2 of the 3, which I got. Then I got an idea for Ry, and sent him off with Greg while I got a giftcard from GameStop. Then we started looking for a ring for 'Stas. We looked at like 10 different stores and couldn't find anything we liked that wasn't $100 and was in her size. Merh. That night we watched The HULK. The re-made version that's supposed to be way better than the first epic FAIL. Grade: B-. It wasn't overly engaging, but it didn't suck. Simply alright as far as movies go.

More soon...


Kerry said…
we can never get those dang houses to stick together, either!

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