Thursday, January 8, 2009

Aloha-oi veh!

Yeah, I know what you're thinking... "Two posts in two days! What is going on here??" Well, I've dug up something that Tim wrote several months ago, but never finished. I think it's still worthy of recounting this event so I'll post it and attempt to fill in the blanks myself. Be warned, however, I have a severe case of "graphophobia," and tend to just plain suck at writing. (Tim's will be in italics.)

A few months ago, we were given the very generous offering of a free week's stay in Maui. Brandi's mom was unable to use her timeshare condo so she extended the invitation. Luckily, we were fortunate enough to have several Southwest rewards flights that were approaching their expiration date. So we cashed those in for two round trip tickets to Oahu and bought a couple of additional tickets to jump from Oahu to Maui. All the world was flowers and sausages and we were getting really excited for a little island living at Blue Light prices. That's just about when our Hawaiian vacation turned into a mirage and left us in the desert drinking a canteen full of sand. Southwest doesn't actually fly to Hawaii, but the route was contracted through a company called ATA. Our Oahu to Maui leg was booked on Aloha Air. Within a single week, both airlines filed for bankruptcy. Fantastic. In the end, the price of replacing the tickets was out of our budget.

The silver lining to all of this, was that we decided to use our refunded rewards flights to cover two vacations. We cashed in the first one in May for a trip to Washington D.C. Brandi had lived back there for about five years before we met and we've been talking about getting back there for a long time, since Tim had never been and Brandi’s an awesome tour guide. Brandi found a spanking deal on the Marriott world wide internet site near her old stomping grounds out in the Virginia 'burbs. So we booked.

We flew out on a Wednesday morning and Paisley was an angel and practically slept her way through most of both legs. When she wasn't sleeping, she was making friends with everyone around her. It was a long day considering that we left Las Vegas at 7:30 a.m. and with an extended layover in Chicago, we didn’t touch down at Dulles airport until after 6:00 p.m. After arriving at the hotel and getting settled, we headed to the grocery store to load up on food supplies for Paisley and then found our own dinner at a restaurant that Brandi worked at. (If you don't know Brandi, she's had about 80 jobs in her life and has seemed to be able to hold most of them down at the same time.)

The next morning we got all loaded up and drove into town to the National Zoo to rendezvous up with a friend of Brandi's that she used to work with. Paisley and Allison's son Grayson had a fun time playing together as they checked out all of the animals. It must have been fetish day at the zoo since we encountered just about every gross zoo experience in one day. If you've ever experienced giant tortoises get frisky, that was one of the first, and tamest incidents. There’s a reason they call it “spring.”

After they kicked everyone out of the zoo due to some special event, we parted ways with Allison and Grayson and headed to our next appointment for the day: haircuts. Brandi thought it a good opportunity to reunite with her old stylist for some color and a touch of cut. Brandi also thought it was a good opportunity to introduce Tim to her stylist since his last cut was in 2007. Brandi got a touch of color and we both got a bit of a cut. There seemed to be a little communication mishap between Tim and the stylist, which should have resulted in a new wig for a cancer patient somewhere. In the end, Brandi promises that she can still love Tim with short hair. It will be nice for summer.

We spent a lot of time the next couple of days in D.C. enjoying many of the museums and monuments as well as stopping into the doctor's office that Brandi used to manage. Some of our favorite museum stops were the Natural History, the Hirshhorn and the Holocaust museums. Another highlight was walking around Arlington National Cemetery all decorated for the upcoming Memorial Day. It's hard to reduce the thousands of lives lost in serving this country into stone sanctuary but the reverence encompassing each memorial is tangible. Nowhere is this more pronounced than at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Not that our presence helped that solemnity with a squealing Paisley and both of our cell phones that decided to ring for the first time in weeks. Tim’s call was from his brother-in-law who is in the Navy, which makes the distraction a little less offensive, right?

Paisley was such a champion and was surprisingly content with spending so much time in her stroller. One of the biggest challenges of the trip was finding a) public restrooms and b) public restrooms with changing tables. But we seemed to manage well enough and Paisley never went more than a day or two without a clean diaper. She loved riding the Metro all over since everyone rides it looking down at their toes only to see a cute, smiling baby waving at them.

We took advantage of the perfect weather and only got rained on Sunday. How’s that for irony? Somehow we managed to get up early and make it to 8:30 am sacrament meeting at Brandi's old ward, then headed downtown and met up with Leti at Starbucks for lunch before Tim took off on his own to tour the Holocaust museum. It's not that Brandi is anti-semitic, it's just that she had already been before and Leti got stuck in traffic and they wanted a few more minutes together. She joined the tour later and we were both extremely moved.

That night we were able to see Brandi's 10 year-old nephew, Jamie, who lives in Virginia with his mother. Neither Tim nor Paisley had ever met him and Brandi hadn't seen him in 3 years so it was a nice reunion.

Monday was the day we were scheduled to leave so we spent the morning packing up then went over to Great Falls to show Tim the more beautiful part of the Potomac River. So a little bit of hiking around, then a short walk around Brandi's old neighborhood in Reston and before we knew it we were on a plane on our way back to Vegas.

It was a fast trip, but I am so grateful that Tim was willing to go back with me. Though my few years of living there were definitely filled with many downs and some ups, I really grew so much as a person during that time and sometimes I miss the independence that I was forced to have there. I think I needed some closure on that chapter of my life, which I felt like this trip enabled me to have. Hopefully we'll be able to go back again in the near future, as there is so much to do and see that there was no way to be able to do it all in 5 days.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baby Boy Ricks?

In case you haven't heard the news already, Paisley will soon be a big sister to this little guy.

Thanks to Brandi's "high risk" pregnancy status, we are seeing a specialist who happens to have a very fancy ultrasound machine. Hopefully, they're not charging us extra for these pictures.

And to answer your question... No, we will not be changing the name of our blog.