Middle of October 2014   2 comments

I realized something about myself tonight. When required to answer something I have been trained in, I stumble over words.

Customer: Hey, are you able to give me cash back?
Kelsey: Yes, you can get the…the things when you do the thing, with the swiping, the cashing, with the debit card. You have to have a debit card to get the thing. The cash.

But when I improvise…

Kelsey: Oh, I like the teddy bear mask. Very scary. Is it for Halloween?
Customer: No, I just want it wear it every day.
Kelsey: I respect that.
Customer: *laughs hysterically*

Or alternatively:

Kelsey: I see you got skeleton-themed paper plates and towels. Are you preparing for the Skeleton War?
Customer: No, I’ve never heard of that.
Kelsey: On Halloween, the skeletons are going to rise up and make war on us all. It’s all over the internet.
Customer: I didn’t know. We’ll be completely unprepared.
Kelsey: Oh, don’t worry! Now that you know, you’ll be able to prepare.
Customer: Good.
Kelsey: Although, since we all have skeletons inside us, will we not be fighting ourselves?
Customer: That got deep.
Supervisor: That got creepy.

Anyway, when I made my last post, I expected to update later that day with a most important post about how I spent my weekend. Alas, my weekend was so much fun and so exhausting that I ended up passing out instead of writing the blog entry. I am now going to fix that.

Kelsey and Lacey’s Excellent Adventure

Lacey came down to visit me for the weekend! Not only was it the first time I saw family in like two months (how did I go that long??? I’m not used to that!) but also it was the first time I had time off in like ever.

She drove down on Friday night for the long Columbus Day Indigenous People’s Day weekend. I made lettuce wraps and she, James, and I played Robo Rally. I chose Robo Rally because it’s the least board-game-like board game we own. You navigate a bunch of robots around a map, as they crash into things (such as other robots) and get caught on conveyor belts and shoot at things and it’s a lot of fun, 10/10 would recommend. Lacey loved it.

The next day, we knew I had to close Petsmart in the evening, and I really wanted to go to a corn maze, so we chose a corn maze just down the road from Food Lion to go to. It really amazes me about North Carolina; we’re in the middle of suburbia, and you turn down a road you always turn down, and then you go like two minutes farther and suddenly you’re in farm country? Or maybe there’s a large working farm smack in the middle of suburbia? Like there’s apartments right across the street from a working farm?

Most of the activities were for families with little kids. There was a moon bounce, farm equipment to climb on, pony rides, a fenced-in area with a few things for kids to climb on but mostly a place for them to run around and scream. There were activities for older kids — a strongman game, a mechanical bull, a trail ride. Lacey and I started with the corn maze, because that had been the main attraction for me.

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They had given us a map and shown us where the entrance was on the map. We hewed very closely to the map, and so getting through the maze was a breeze. We were supposed to find ten checkpoints. That was not so easy.

After an hour, we had found seven checkpoints and decided to call it quits. The sun was hot in the sky. The ground was muddy. We had both dressed in long, dark jeans for some insane reason. We knew where the exit was. So we left and sat in the shaded eating area and drank water and checked facebook and chatted for a bit.

We decided to do the trail ride next, although they were in the middle of a trail ride, so we decided to do the strongman game in the meantime. You guys know what a strongman game is. I’m not going to explain it.

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Lacey was able to get “Minor Blast” while I couldn’t get past “Fizzle Out”. I fumed at my lack of strength. Lacey explained how my swinging technique was wrong, and I tried again, this time scoring “Low Power.” And that was great! But it was time to get on our high horse and ride.

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Uh oh, she’s figured out I’m taking pictures.

They gave the horse that I wanted to a little boy, I guess because that particular horse was calm and easy. Why couldn’t I get the calm and easy horse? Instead, I got a generic brown horse who had decided that he was sick of walking the same loop around the property every day. Didn’t anyone ever bother to ask the horse what he wanted to do? He was the one actually doing the walking, and what he wanted to do was eat some delicious, delicious grass.

Yes, while I was feeling trepidatious because the last time I rode a horse I nearly fell off, the horse was just feeling hungry and bored. We started walking, and the horse immediately veered to the left to get some grass next to the entrance. Fortunately, I guided the horse roughly back to the group. I muttered to the horse, “Don’t you want to be with the other horses? Aren’t you a herd animal?” He chose not to reply.

For a moment we walked on the trail and all was peaceful and well. The sun warmed my skin. I gained an appreciation for all those comments about riders being “saddle-sore” in all those fantasy books. I didn’t hurt, but my skin was being rubbed, and I could see it getting worse if you rode for several hours. I also thought it was pretty cool, you know, sitting on something and having it go without you pressing on an accelerator or something.

The trail was a big loop around a big grassy field. The horse went for the grass. But he was smart; he acted like he wanted to stay on the road, but just not next to those other horses. But slowly, we started angling more and more onto the grass and less and less onto the gravel. Then he stopped. He straight up stopped, and bent down, and started eating grass.

“No,” I said. “No, horse. No.” I tried kicking his belly, but the horse continued to munch away. I weakly flicked the reins. I wondered whose idea it had been to let me operate a horse. I looked around. Lacey was riding next to the ride leader, laughing, making friends like she’s so good at doing. Behind them was the little boy on the pretty horse. I couldn’t see anyone else. The horse pulled at a particularly tough piece of grassing, rocking me from side to side.

From behind me, someone said, “Pull hard on the reins. Show him who’s boss.”

“Won’t that hurt?” I asked.

“Not if you only do it briefly. He won’t want you to do it again.”

I trusted his expert advice and yanked on the reins. Then I yanked again. And a third time. Finally, the horse’s head went up, and he walked along, chewing. Then he swallowed, and stopped, bent down, and started plucking at the grass again.

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Here are some random pictures that I took on the farm. That is the King of All Goats in case you are wondering.

Lacey and I picked out our pumpkins and headed home. We watched Nightmare Before Christmas before I had to leave for work. She was out with some Raleigh friends of hers when I got home.

The next day, we went to downtown Raleigh. I had never been to downtown Raleigh before. It was a cold and misty day, completely the opposite of the day before; I had wore cloth shoes even though it was clearly going to rain any second. We were going for the Raleigh Museum of History, but we stumbled upon the Food Truck Rodeo, which I had completely forgotten about even though it had been advertised pretty much everywhere in the Raleigh area constantly, including on our toilet paper probably.

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I like how few food trucks are featured in these images, despite them literally lining the streets.

Lacey bought a shirt and a cupcake. I bought some crab rangoon and veggie rolls, some cupcakes, and a whoopie pie. Then we headed to the museum.

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Now admittedly I have been spoiled rotten by growing up near DC. I compare all museums to the Smithsonian Institution. Those are huge, grand Neo-Classical buildings. The Raleigh Museum of History was small compared to that. Not super small — not Bath Historical Society small — but small. There was only one gallery on the bottom floor, along with a theater and a gift shop. Upstairs, there were four more galleries. The one on the bottom was a rundown of North Carolinian history from the indigenous inhabitants to the 1990s. The section on pirates was smaller than I would have preferred, just a small exhibit with a model ship, Blackbeard’s flag, and a few signs about Blackbeard. The section on the Civil War was large, as you would expect in a former Confederate state, I guess. Lacey and I found each other in there, and we discussed women in the Civil War for a bit before wandering off separately again. I sat down and watched a video on the hostile takeover of Wilmington. I was sort of shaken by the whole thing and had trouble concentrating for the rest of the tour. I was surprised by how strong my reaction was. It felt sort of like that moment when I learned that Napoleon Bonaparte sold the Louisiana Territory to Thomas Jefferson. History suddenly felt real to me. It suddenly had real-world consequences. Oddly enough, I feel uncomfortable researching modern-day history, precisely because it is so close to me. Wilmington was very much that to me, and yet I found myself wanting to know more.

Then we went home and played board games with James and his friends. We played Robo Rally again (it’s very zany with seven players), and introduced Lacey to Resistance. It’s difficult enough playing that game, but Lacey was playing against six veteran Resistance players, and the final round came down to her. The spies kicked our asses.

After we cleaned up from board game night, Lacey and I watched Princess and the Frog, determined that the lack of direction and ill-thought-out characters (particularly the female characters) meant that we didn’t like the movie.

On Monday, we carved pumpkins:

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Combined Starbucks and smokey barbecue:

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And visited a lumber yard, and basically had a very North Carolina sort of day. We watched Brave (we both enjoyed that film more — Pixar just really knows how to write well-rounded characters, you know?) and then played Arabian Nights (in just a few rounds, Lacey’s character was a depressed talking ape on the run from the law). Then Lacey had to go home. I started missing her about two minutes after she left.

Ah well. December then.

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2 responses to “Middle of October 2014

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  1. Lots of comments I could make but gonna stick with: awesome pumpkins!

  2. Sounds fun! I’m glad you had a good time aside from the stubborn horse.

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