Monday, August 31, 2015

Raleigh Recap, In Words and Links

This blog became poignant in the retelling. Rebekah took so many photos and videos, Sarah and I backed off, figuring we could share. Last night, while attempting to upload said videos and photos, Rebekah's phone wiped her SD card clean.

Yes, that's right. Most of our pictorial summary of our trip is permanently gone. And now, the recap.

We had just claimed baggage at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (, and I had just swallowed my anitbiotic when Sarah and Lucas appeared, with Lucas running excitedly up to greet us.

BTW, this is what caused the antibiotic reaction: Apparently, even topical alcohol (in lotions, slathered over the body). I stopped using such topical products when I started the drug, but seeing that I had already applied them that day...well, not a fun reaction. But we fixed it.

After lunch at Papa's Pizza & Subs ( and a walk with Lucas to buy some much-needed coffee at the nearby by Sola Coffee Café  ( and bring it back to restaurant, we went grocery shopping, and then past her former house on Waterbury Lane so I could envision it, and then back to Sarah's for a tour of her beautiful manufactured and very open house in the woods.

BTW, Sola has fantastic atmosphere, and it's one of my to-go places when I return to Raleigh. Another BTW: Each and every time we stopped somwhere for coffee for me (after the first day, it was always Starbucks because it was always nearby whereever we were at), Lucas tried conning the counter person out of an iced coffee. It became our predictable ritual.

During dinner preparations, I played ping-pong with Lucas. After dinner, Lucas, Sarah, Rebekah, and I played Chutes and Ladders, the first time I had played Chutes and Ladders with the girls in a VERY long time. ;)

On Saturday, we went Good Will hopping to two stores (and "hiding" stuff on the racks at closing time for the next day), stopping to have lunch at Subway.

More on the fun of Good Will hopping with Sarah and Rebekah (and only with Sarah and Rebekah) on a later post.

Later that evening, we took a walk down the Neuse River Trail ( behind her house, with Lucas riding his bike, stopping at Poole Road to turn around because it was getting dark. Sarah promised we would go farther next time. Sarah said it was supposed to the longest connecting trail either in the state or in all fifty states, when it's finished.

On Sunday, we attended All Saints Antiochean Orthodox Church (
 and back to Good Will to try on the stuff we hid the previous day. Then we went to Triangle Town Center
( checked out items we could not get at Good Will, and then decided Wal-Mart had the better deal (although we did buy a box of Cinnabons to take home. At Wal-Mart, Lucas gave me a ride on a shopping cart, and we also bought his school supplies.

On Monday, we went to the Atlantic Ocean:  Johnnie Mercer Pier Pier at Wrightsville Beach ( Having been married to two husbands that are afraid of water, I have  not been in a swimming pool or any body of water since my teens, so this part was extremely important to Sarah, as I love water very, very much.

BUT, I am allergic to the UVA rays in sun, and this particular antibiotic increased sun sensitivity (naturally). So I happily lay under the awning, read Bryony, and listened to the waves, while everyone else frolicked in the water. At five o'clock, I reslathered the sunscreen (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide blocks UVA) and headed to the water.

The first wave washed over me when Sarah yelled out, "Something bit me!" I thought she was joking, but that Rebekah and then several people around us echoed that. We collected Lucas, scampered from the water, and surmised the girls had been stung by jellyfish. Sarah produced a credit card, scraped their legs to remove the stinger, and broke camp quickly, with the help from one very kind man.

Off we went to Medac quick care ( for treatment and vinegar soaks, with me reassuring Lucas that his mother wasn't going to die, and Lucas trying to sell Bryony to the staff. I felt badly that the girls had been stung; Sarah felt badly that I didn't have time in the water.

Sidebar: We learned at quick care that the staff treat several jellyfish stings a day (one woman before us had run in screaming), and that the tide brings them in around five o'clock (figures). We had thumped ourselves on the head for not deciding to pack overnight bags, and I had already envisioned myself getting up early in the morning, before everyone was awake, for a nice dip in the ocean before the sun's rays could hurt me. Well, we learned at quick care that also would have been a bad idea. The sharks are out until nine a.m.

Then it was home for reading (me) and TV and vinegar soaks for the girls.

On Tuesday, we went to the Buffalo Road Aquatic Center ( We were supposed to attend Lucas' family-style Taekwondo class later that night, but after playing on the three-story water slide, in the vortex, chasing each other in the lazy river, and water basketball, Lucas really needed some down time, so had a mellow evening.

On Wednesday, after watching Dirty Dancing (which I had never seen), all the while musing on the fact that I was watching a favorite movie of both my daughters, we went to Waffle House (where Lucas bought me a Waffle House coffee) and then to return Lucas' Nintendo DS at Toys R Us.

While there, Lucas really, really, really wanted the new Sonic Colors game. He 'bout fell over when I offered to buy it for him by saying, "Merry Christmas." Except for mice creams (, and our annual St. Nicholas drawing, I have never bought him a present.

Next on the agenda was bowling at Buffalo Lanes North, where Lucas celebrated his eighth birthday (as we were leaving, Sarah's former dance teacher Mary Ann Corcoran called, apologizing that she didn't call in time for my storydeadline. I interviewed her that night, added her to the story (, and she and Sarah spent some time catching up), and Goodberry's Frozen Custard.

At Goodberry's Lucas and I went searching the strip mall parking lot for loose change to throw into the wishing well. We found none, Lucas got bored, so Sarah supplied the change, and we made wishes. We walked off the ice cream by walking down to Neuse River Trail to Anderson Point Park (, which is beautifully open, landscaped, and has this really quaint retreat house for community events and for rent.

On Thursday, the original plan was roller skating. However, Lucas seemed like he needed a quiet day. So
took a ride to see the Sarah's first Raleigh home on Upchurch Subdivision on Jordan Road. We parked in a former neighbor's driveway (with permission), walked to the woods (where there are old graves from the Hobby family from the nineteenth century) behind her old house and then over to the playground, where there was a boy playing, the first time ever, Sarah said.

Lucas invited the boy to come with us to Lake Benson Park in Garner (, where we were gong to have lunch. The boy's mother, just a couple years younger than I and from the Ukraine, was wary, as she did not know us, but that was not the case an hour later. We talked, friended each other on Facebook, and left with her promising Sarah to send an invitatino to her son's birthday party, which would be held the first part of September.

Amongst all this, I also called Joliet Regional Airport for one last source to this story (, as everyone I needed to contact was on vacation.

We then went to Lake Benson Park, had a picnic lunch in the pavilion, and then walked by the lake, where Lucas showed off his proficiency at skipping rocks. We walked through the woods, checked out the turtles, and then went to Pullen Park, founded in 1887 ( and then rode a carousel built in 1912.

We rode the carousel, invited three boys playing at the park to ride then train with us, and then went to Lucas' school to meet his teacher. That night, after filing the story, te girls and I went to Rum Runners (, the little piano bar that Sarah loves and where she spent at least one of her birthdays.

The girls, heads together, sent up requests. The guys' styles reminded me of Elton John's Get Back, Honky Cat, which the younger pianist sent to the older one, as he was unfamiliar with it. Old people's music? I guess.

A stripper from the bar next door thought Sarah and I were twins...but she and I, Rebekah and I, and she and Rebekah heard that everywhere we went. Too funny!

Afterwards, we had a later dinner at Woody's (, which served the tenderest chicken strips anywhere. I am such a kid!

On Friday, Sarah's husband took part of the day off so we could go to Falls Lake in Wake Forest and Durham ( We drifted past the place they camp, swam, ate lunch, zipped around, and went tubing, my first time and tons of fun. Next year, Sarah said it will be wakeboarding. Can't wait!

The afternoon ended earlier than we would have liked because Sarah had to be at Lucas' school before four o'clock in order to sign him up for before-school care. We talked to his teacher again, and then Sarah and I reviewed her wish list. Sarah took some items, and I pulled "stickers."

Then we cleaned up and headed over to The Pit Authentic BBQ ( for a rib and brisket dinner...and some outstanding collard greens! This was the ride where Lucas and I sat in the back seat watching the video to one of his favorite songs (

Sometime I ate caused me to flush and my heart to race; we think it was the jalapenos in appetizer cornbread, a normal reaction, except mine was extreme and put the only damper on the entire week.

However,that was nothing to the seizure the man at the next table had to us. The paramedics were called, poor man, although he appeared to be stable when they left. I hope everything turned out okay.

Back at the house, Sarah and Co. opened up their St. Nicholas gifts that had gone through a shipping mishap. Too keyed up to sleep that night, we left the house at five-thirty the next morning for the return flight home. I was extremely sorry to leave so soon, but the realization of something struck me in those wee hours of no sleepand filled me with elation.

I'll explain Wednesday...along with why I pulled "stickers."

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