Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Category: Travel (page 1 of 3)

Days Go By

I’m not entirely certain whether it’s funny or inexpressibly sad that after a month and a half, the front door’s handle is still not fixed, and one still enters by pulling an orange string to open the storm door. Whether sad or funny, it is the case, and I’ll thank you to keep your snide comments about not finishing projects to yourself, thank you very much! I’ve been Doing Things!

Things like traveling to Ohio and North Carolina, finding bits of family history and visiting with family present along the way. Things like starting a new job. Things like having out of town friends and relatives visit and having large groups of people (like over 30 at a time) over at my house in the evenings–three times in one week. I think I can be forgiven for not having painted and replaced the front door’s hardware. At least, I hope I can. Because if not, then I’m in deep doo-doo.

Also, people who know me now may or may not be aware that back in the day I was quite the Diablo 2 player. And they may or may not know that Diablo 3 FINALLY came out a few weeks ago, and those who are fond of connecting dots may correctly surmise that I have been properly enjoying fighting the minions of evil. For the distinct minority who might care, at present I have a level 30 Wizard, a 20 Monk, and a 10 Demon Hunter. Most useful spell thus far when fighting bosses: the wizard’s crystal skin. Won. Der. Ful.

That’s about all the news that’s fit for the public at this point… as usual, there are several things brewing in the background that are far too undeveloped to reveal to the masses, but the rest of this year should be quite eventful.

oooOOOOooo.

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House Update

I had hoped to be able to squee and cheer and otherwise be ridiculously happy when I updated on the house situation but alas, it is not to be.

We’ve run into some complications on the seller’s side as we move toward closing, which is drawing out the process rather longer than we had hoped. In the moments when I’m sympathetic, I remember that these poor people have tanked financially, gotten a divorce, declared bankruptcy, and keep having people back out of buying their house over the last two years. In the moments when I’m not so sympathetic, I steam a bit at the ears and wonder why the heck their bank won’t just take our money and take a load of trouble off everyone’s plate.

So we don’t have the house yet, but we’re not backing out of the deal either. Not for a while, anyway. Even if they did indicate that we might have been able to close by last weekend. And then couldn’t follow through. Sigh. I should stop talking, because the impatience is only going to get worse the more I type.

Since I didn’t figure I had enough to worry and plan about, Shiloh and I are leaving in a few days to drive across the country in search of adventure. Actually, we’ll be driving to my parents’ house, where I will help my mother clean out the garage loft, which is as close as they get to an attic. And by “we” I mean I will be driving and Shiloh will be riding in the back, looking adorable for passing cars. Also by “we” I mean that my mom took pity on my overwhelmed stressed-out-ness last week and found a cheap plane ticket to come out and drive back with me, so at least I have company and another driver. Last time Matt and I drove, it was 22 hours in the car including rest stops. I’m totally okay with not having to do that on my own, no matter how many days I was going to take to do it.

So unless we get word today that everything got cleared up and we can close on the house Tuesday or Wednesday (my estimate of the likelihood there is about 2%), my task for the next few days will be to pack for all the varied aspects of the trip (no I’m not telling everything, you Nosy Nancy), making sure things are set here when I leave, and not forgetting anything. Hah.

Wish me luck. Pretty sure I’ll need it.

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Saturday, in Numbers

Alarms accidentally turned off instead of snoozed: 1
Breakfast visits with my brother: 0
Cars in the ditch before I reached the interstate: 2

Sets of keys to Mom’s car found in pocket: 1
Miles from home when said keys discovered: 9
Thanks to grandfather for letting me drop them off with him instead of driving all the way back home: 1,000

Average speed on I-75 north to Dayton: 60mph
Feeling of silliness at driving past the Dayton airport in bad weather to go another 1.5 hours to another airport, scale of 1-10: 9.5
Average speed on I-70: 40mph
Cars in the ditch along Ohio interstates: 8

Semi trucks in the ditch along Indiana interstates: 9 (!)
Cars in the ditch along Indiana interstates: more than 15
Times I swore after sliding into a snow bank: 7
Relief at no injury to myself or the rental car, scale of 1-10: 12.7

Minutes for which my car joined the ditch-party: 45
Men deserving awards for pulling my car out faster than I had any right to expect: 3
Hesitation on providing huge tip for the tow guys, in seconds: 0

Hang-ups returning rental car: 0
Total travel time to airport, in hours: 5.25
Minutes to spare catching flight: 20

Years I can wait before having a similar day: 1,000,000

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The Ohio Chronicles

I mentioned briefly at some point that I was headed to Ohio to visit family, and that is where I’ve been.  Aren’t you glad I’m not a liar?

The flight and everything surrounding it went well on Thursday, and we (my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew) spent Friday morning at the doctor’s and then the zoo, the latter of which was lots of fun for everyone.  Friday evening and most of Saturday, the lovely, brilliant theologian Marva Dawn was a guest speaker at a conference hosted by my brother’s church.  That was a great deal of fun as well as being educational and though-provoking, AND my high school English teacher was there, so I got to chat with her for a few minutes.

As if that weren’t enough excitement, on Saturday morning we were all woken by the beeps, clangs, and rumbles of heavy machinery–William is firmly in the phase of fascination with all kinds of trucks, and he stood transfixed for several hours as the men ripped out the old, ugly cement stairs in front of the house.  I say “stood,” but there was also a fair amount of dancing, wiggling, and jumping up and down in excitement.  I took pictures, but they really don’t compare.

Sunday morning and half the afternoon was church, as usual, and then I ran to the grocery store while the house turned into The Napping House, and I made a giant cookie for a dessert pizza that they took to a picnic in the evening.  I, on the other hand, drove up to my parents’ house and had dinner with my parents, grandfather, and aunt and uncle.

Returning to Saturday night, I babysat for William while Nathan and Johanna went out to dinner, and after a screaming bedtime routine, William went to sleep within minutes of my turning out the light.

And then I embarked on the Horrific Computer Transfer.  I didn’t know that’s what it would be when I started.  If I had, I might have made more demands.  You see, I helped my mother switch from Windows to Mac about a year and a half ago, and she’s never been entirely happy with it.  That’s okay–I’ve always acknowledged that there are some people for whom Windows works just fine, and my mom is one of them.

So, since I was planning on being in the area for a while, I offered to help her buy a new PC and switch her files back over while I’m here.

Because I like sticking forks in my eyeballs for fun.

Also, Matt and I get the old MacMini when I go home.  (Yay more computers!)

At any rate, after I put William to bed Saturday night I went about setting up both computers so that I could get down to the work of the switcheroo.  It went well for a while, and then I ran into trouble with transferring files, since I couldn’t get both machines online at the same time with any kind of ease.  So I found a blank cd, burned the files I needed to transfer, and loaded most of them on the new computer.  I knew the email files weren’t going to be very nice, so I saved them for last.

Suffice to say that I am having problems.  There’s not a lot of documentation online about switching from Mac back to PC, and the vast majority of THAT is from OS 10.3 or earlier, which is just ridiculous since we’re on 10.6 now.  Mail files look like mboxes, but aren’t any more; the emlx-to-mbox converter I tried to use didn’t work; and before I even got to that point there were several hours in which I was moderately concerned that I might have lost all my mother’s emails entirely.  That is significant both because she does a lot with email and keeps a lot of things saved there, and also because it would have been an idiotic thing for me, of all people, to do.  I was going to try to convert using Thunderbird as a “translator” since it runs on both platforms, but I have been thwarted at every turn there, too.

I am beginning to seriously consider more drastic (and seriously annoying) actions.  Also, as a pre-emptive strike here, in this entry I have not even begun to give details either on the situation or on what I’ve tried to do (literally just about everything.  I’m more thorough than most people.), so general “have you tried this?” comments probably won’t be greeted with much grace at this point.  If you have extensive experience specifically with moving obstinate Mac Mail version 3.6 files into Windows Mail, feel free to send me a private email.  Otherwise, commiseration and rantings about how idiotic the technology world can be are most welcome from everyone.

That about sums up my visit so far: good times with family, lots of fun, and ongoing desires to scream at computers.

I’ll try to post some photos tomorrow.  In the meantime, look out for an Exciting Announcement!  (Don’t get too excited, though.)

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Vacation Wrap-Up and Whatnot

Apologies yet again for failing in my blog schedule… I’ve uploaded more photos from the trip and made comments over on flickr, in the Utah album. Head over there and check it out. The first five or six photos have already been posted on the blog, but the rest are new.

I’ve mostly been reading this week, between efforts to settle back into the routine of being home. On that front, it’s been a rough week. We had several special events on campus, which meant shuffling our usual schedule, and I’ve been fighting off a rather persistent bout of depression recently. It manifests as an extreme inability to focus combined with rather overwhelming lethargy. I’m working, bit by bit, to keep moving forward, or at least not stagnate entirely. It seems a hopeless business most days, but I have good friends and family who keep me in line and crack the whip when I slide a bit too close to the edge of full-out wallowing.

So that’s where things stand. It’s a busy, rather stressful month in the Whitt household, since June is extra-busy for Matt and his youth ministry responsibilities. He’ll be home eight days between now and July 4th. I expect to spend rather a lot of time with Shiloh at the dog park while he’s gone. I’ve got a few other plans, too, which I won’t expand upon at the moment. We’ll see what the month brings.

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Utah! (I really am here. Doing things.)

Okay, okay, this makes three days without updates. You should know by now that my promises of daily postings are more like wishful thinking than anything else.

So, here’s your update. We did go to IKEA on Saturady (I was going to take a photo to post, but Matt wouldn’t let me. Party pooper.) and we bought too much stuff, as always happens when we’re let loose in that fabulous store. Picked up a few Christmas gifts for family members, some airtight canisters to store our coffee in, new pillows, things like that. We also hit up a couple other places, including Payless Shoes, where I got these (much cheaper than that) and another pair, even cheaper, that I can’t find on the website. Both very cute and comfy. Yay shoes!

Yesterday (that would be Sunday) we made a rather abortive attempt at hiking. There were several obstacles, but between the semi-slushy snow on the trail (but not enough to make snowshoes worthwhile, of course) and the unrelenting rain, we turned back sooner rather than later, and spent pretty much the rest of the day avoiding the outdoors, because it was rather uninviting. And since it was raining while we were hiking, we never pulled out the camera, so no photos. Not that you could have really seen anything anyway.

I have, so far, read three books.

This morning, we decided to head over to Park City and see where the day led us. We walked around historic downtown PC for a while, then went east to Kamas for lunch and then farther east into the Wasatch National Forest for a bit of mountain biking. It was muddy and tiring and I’m way out of shape, and we didn’t go very far, objectively speaking, but it was lots of fun, and I’m glad we did it. Still having plenty of daylight, we swung down and got a really fantastic view from the top of Memorial Hill in the Heber Valley. Here’s part of the view, plus proof that I’m actually on the trip:

See? Skinny, pale, and squinting. It must be me!

Anyway, from there we headed a bit farther south and west over a well-traveled gravel road to get to Cascade Springs, which was lovely and interesting and generally great. Matt took some great photos, but apparently I didn’t upload any. At any rate, we were going to continue on a paved alpine scenic route up past Mount Timpanagos and on to Provo, but it was closed. The nerve! But never fear! There was another option–a state park road that dropped south to the road we needed.

It did come with a warning, but that seemed like much more of a formality than anything.

I mean, look at that! You can almost hear the birds singing! That sign? Biggest. Understatment. Ever.

On the up side, Leo (that would be our 4Runner) got to have fun on vacation, too!

That was the first of three water crossings. Then there was the freakishly steep climbing, which we probably would not have managed without Leo’s low 4-wheel drive gear. There were a few very scary moments. Not, “Oh no, we’re going to die” scary but, “Hmm this might be very, very bad for the car” scary.

But we got some really amazing views. (97% sure this is Timpanagos)

We wouldn’t have gotten anything like that without hiking for several hours. It was fantastic. Very cool. Very fun. I have no desire to ever do it again. :) Definitely an unforgettable part of this vacation.

Between the driving, which always makes me stiff, the mountain biking, and the off-roading adventure, I anticipate not being able to get my own body out of bed in the morning without help. I’ll make sure there’s a book or two on the bedside table so I won’t have to move if that’s the case. Never hurts to be prepared.

Viva vacation!

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Utah!

Okay, so I don’t have any Utah photos for you today, but I do have photos from the first part of our morning. We stayed outside of Grand Junction and took the time to drive through the Colorado National Monument, which really is lovely. We’d like to return sometime and do some hiking, rather than being relegated to the Rim Road. It was a spectacular drive, though, with many opportunities to pull over and walk to an overlook and take photos or just enjoy God’s creation. Driving through on an overcast Friday morning certainly affected traffic, and there were hardly any other people. Amazing quiet, and a really surprising lack of wind, given the fact that wind and water are the chief agents of erosion in this really amazing terrain.

It’s hard to see the vegetation much there, but up along the road there were old trees twisted by the wind, stunted by the harsh conditions. Most of them are probably a hundred years old, but look much smaller. Here’s one that must have started out in a crack in the rock, but has gotten big enough that it looked like it was rooted directly in the sandstone. Very cool.

Tomorrow we’re going to take it easy, really relax and unwind, and maybe venture out to IKEA. Whee IKEA!

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Vacation!

Okay, so I’ve been rather swamped lately. You see, there was that unexpected trip east last week, and then all the scrambling to catch up and make sure Matt remembered everything he needs to do (he is now officially done with his school year – yay!) and–taking up most of my time this week–there has been the planning I put off for our upcoming vacation.

That’s right, folks. For the first time in two years, I will be traveling entirely for pleasure. We aren’t meeting anyone or seeing family or going to a conference or anything other than relaxing in the middle of some of God’s beautiful country. And we leave this afternoon. Yipes!

We’ve rented a condo thing outside Park City, Utah for the week, and we will be relaxing, hiking, mountain biking, and generally exploring the Salt Lake City/Provo/Uintas Range/Wasatch-Cache Mountains area for the next week. And, as a reward for your general patience and fabulousness over the last few months, I’ll do my best to post a spectacular (or at least an interesting) photo from the trip every day. We’ll have wifi, and I’m taking my laptop, so there’s no reason this shouldn’t work.

Yay Utah!

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Home Again, Home Again

I don’t have a lot to say, except that it’s good to be home and I’ve got quite a bit of catching up to do now that I’m back. I intend to accomplish a good deal of that here with my laptop (retrieved from the Apple folks once again and, thus far, fully functional) on the couch watching movies with Matt.

We’re having corned beef and cabbage for dinner, only four days after St. Patrick’s Day, but I was gone then.

Oh, and this is funny:

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Nashville!

Well we’re here, and we’ve been here for a few days. We’re trying to balalnce between being tourists and being people relaxing in a great rental condo. Mom brought her sewing machine, and I brought all that fabric I bought last week (well, most of it) and I’ve been working on the quilt top while she puts together photo albums from our childhood. I think she’s caught up to about 15 years ago now. Still a little ways to go, but it’s been fun to look through old photos as she puts the pages together. Man, I had some really appalling fashion tastes.

We’ve explored the area we’re staying in (near Opryland, for any who are familiar with Nashville) and avoided real super-touristy things over the weekend. This morning we visited The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s plantation, and had a very nice time all together. I don’t know that I would have chosen there to live, personally, but it’s very nice, all things considered. Remarkable that six of the rooms have original wallpaper – 170 years old now – and the house has been a museum for over 120 years. It’s rather rare to see things like that here in the States.

Tomorrow we’ve got tickets to the Grand Ole Opry show, which we’re properly excited about. Later this week we’re also going to take ourselves on a tour around downtown, visit the reproduction of the Parthenon, and take ourselves down to the Belle Meade Plantation where several of America’s premiere Thoroughbred lines began. Those are the high points, but we’ll probably fit in a few other things here and there.

If you want to tune in with us at the Opry show, it’ll be broadcast on 650 AM WSM Nashville — also streaming live at their website at 7:00 pm central time. Tuesday night.

That’s about all. Matt tells me he’s been feeding the dog and he sent me photos of the pot rack he built and installed to hang out pots and pans in the kitchen, which are the two things I assigned to him before I left. It seems all is well.

Woohoo Nashville!!

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