Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Brief Visit

Saturday morning Bob, Micah, Drew, Verity, and I were out the door by 7:30 to drive down to visit Nathan.   The upper class cadets were all moving in, as well as everyone else on campus, and they wanted the new cadets out of the way, so they had to be off campus right after their parade Saturday morning. We knew it would be a crazy weekend, and it's always a circus when all of us go anywhere, so we decided to take the biggest potential troublemakers with us, and leave capable Luke at home with everyone else.

Unfortunately, we didn't get out the door as quickly as I had wanted to, because, well, we were just taking the youngest 3 with us, and it's hard to speed up grumpy toddlers who didn't want to wake up and aren't really interested in peeing, eating breakfast, or getting dressed and out the door.  That meant that we were still an hour away when my friend Rebecca texted us to say that the parade was over.  Ack!  So there were no pictures of Nathan in his snazzy uniform, and he had plenty of time to get his dirty laundry together before we got there.  Fortunately a friend, Rebecca, was able to watch out for him until we got there.  Thanks, Rebecca!  It was so good to see him again!

We went to a rather sketchy barbeque place for a late lunch, where I realized that I am not a huge fan of "Carolina" style barbeque, but rather prefer I guess a Texas-style or something.  There were several other new cadets there with their families.  They were all easily recognizable with their fuzzy bald heads!  I was so glad there were only 6 of us to find a table for--much easier than for 12!  Nathan adeptly avoided the dirty hands of his little siblings, and his "Hokie bag", which is that Corps polo and khaki pants, stayed clean.  Whew!

We were able to stay in a hotel really close to campus, which was really convenient since Nathan had to run back over there several times for various events.  After we checked in, Bob put Verity and the 2 boys down for a nap and laid down himself, while I ran Nathan back over for one of those events, some engineering fair or something.  When I got back, Verity and Bob were sound asleep, but Micah and Drew were bickering away.  I spent the next hour trying to get them to sleep, since they were both so tired and crabby.  At one point I heard this slapping noise, but no one was crying.  I went over to investigate, and Drew was giving himself "high-fives".  Yeah--just don't, please.  Go to SLEEP!

Eventually I put Drew in the bed Nathan would sleep on (he and Micah had both been on the foldout couch), and he and Micah both fell into a deep sleep for 3 hours.  Whew!  Bob got up and did Nathan's laundry down in the hotel's lone washer and dryer.  After I picked Nathan back up, we discovered he had had nosebleeds during the past week, and so there were bloodstains on both his white pillowcases.  Ack!  Bob did heroics in the laundry sink to get those out, while Nathan took his own nap.  By this point Verity was up, so I chased her around the hotel lobby so she wouldn't wake up the boys in the room.  I had brought Latin to work on, since I need to make extra practice sheets for each lesson.  Funny thing though--I hardly had any time to work on them, so I got next to nothing done.  Ah well.  We should have left all the kids at home with Luke.  Then I would have gotten lots done!  Haha.

Eventually we got the boys woken up, and we tried to figure out what to have for dinner.  Since we had a late lunch, no adult person was all that hungry, but we knew we needed something for the littles.  Nathan said pizza sounded good, so we googled to find a local place with good reviews but wasn't that expensive.  We found "Mike's Grill", so we set off.  It turns out it is right across the street from campus, which I didn't like.  There were lots of little restaurants around, and tons of people, which stresses me out.  I didn't think we would be able to find a parking space, but we did (another advantage of not having the big van!).  It turned out that the restaurant was bigger than I thought, and it wasn't crowded or noisy at all. It was actually a really nice oasis of quiet, and there were plenty of tables!  The pizza was really delicious, and it was a really nice time.  We enjoyed hearing Nathan's stories!
When we got back to the hotel, Nathan caught up on emails, since he had been without any electronics for the previous week.  Bob took the 3 kids swimming, and I went down to sit by the pool and work on Latin.  Instead, Nathan's roommate and his family came in to swim and eat an even later dinner than us by the pool.  They were all really nice, and I really enjoyed the time getting to know them better.  The new cadets needed to have their heads freshly shaved when they went back Sunday night.  We had given a set of clippers to Nathan to take with him to college, and he brought those to the hotel.  I volunteered to shave Joe's head, so we headed back up to the room.  It is so easy to shave a head--seems silly to spend $10/week on it!  I shaved Nathan's head too.  Just another random skill, LOL.

We all slept well, but Nathan had to be over at the college at 7:45 for a mandatory meeting for the College of Engineering. That really irritated me--in a major where so many are cadets, why make a meeting so early in the morning on the one day they could potentially sleep in?  Plus, the meeting was full of fresh, novel advice such as "Go to class" and "Keep up with your assignments".  Wow!  No one has ever heard that before!  So it was a total waste, and hopefully some future cadet will read this and skip without feeling guilty.  Probably not though, lol.  
After we picked Nathan back up, Jared and his mom Rebecca stopped by for a head shave.  We sat around and visited for awhile, and it was so fun to hear his perspective on the past week as well.  It sounds like it was an interesting week!

All too soon, it was time for a late lunch, and then time to say goodbye.  I understand why this weekend is when the new cadets need to be gone, but I really think it would be better if it happened several more weeks into the year.  As it is, the academic year hadn't started yet, and everyone knew it would be different, but they didn't know how, and it was stressful.  I think it would be better after everyone had gotten into a better groove.  I was sad to leave him because I hadn't gone when he moved in, so this was my first time to drive off.  Micah kept asking why Nathan had to stay there "forever" and couldn't come home with us.  So sad!  Obviously Bob and I were affected because we drove off in the complete wrong direction on the highway, and the only way we realized it was because the GPS kept trying to get us to take the next exit!  Good thing we had the GPS, or we would have driven to West Virginia, LOL.  

As we drove back home, I really identified with Nathan, because I really didn't want to go home and face the mess and clutter, or the new school year.  I'm just tired, and I've never been so unmotivated.  I don't want to start back!  Sigh.  Only 18 more years to go.    

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