Saturday, November 30, 2013

Friends - Part Thirty

Last night was another late one… in bed at 2:30am and back up at 6:00am to get ready for work. But unlike the EPIC status that was hung on our last eventful outing, this night was spent sitting, talking, story-telling, and laughing in a circle of fifteen or so people, most of them related to each other but not to us, and all but two of them, completely unknown to us just two days ago. It was a beautiful picture of familial love and common friendship that was pure and genuine.

As I sit here at work thinking back to last night (to be more accurate, early this morning), I am once again brought back to the multiple requests for me to write a post about friendship. I've attempted to write that post at least five times, but every time, I've found myself lost in what direction to take the conversation. My opinion and experiences have certainly grown and evolved throughout my adult life, so finding a focused angle has been all but impossible.

I have an entire line of thoughts about electronic friendships.
I have an entire line of thoughts about continuing couple friendships after children are born.
I have an entire line of thoughts about how friendships are changed by divorce.
I have an entire line of thoughts about the intricacies of blending two personalities, then four, then six, then eight, and so on. 
I have an entire line of thoughts about “dating” friends.

Despite all those potential ideas, the one thing I would like to say about friendship, on this the last day of NaBloPoMo, is that I appreciate and love both of you wonderful woman and the sweet connection we have. This was hands-down the weakest effort we've all given to the event in recent years, but we still hung on. One of us was moving and dealing with all that goes with that. One of us had crazy busy schedules and kids and food and family that would wreck either one of the other two of us. And one of us seemed to be rushing his posts so he could fly out the door every other night for untold adventures people his age shouldn't be attempting. But most days we were all there. 

You both know I've railed against the slow death of blogging for years. FB was usually my target, but not because it in-and-of-itself is evil, but rather, it created an easier way to communicate than blogging could afford. There was no anger, only sadness. Aside from that fact, I knew without question, that you two would be up for it this month. We are literal hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles away from each other, but all together in the written word.

I loved reading about your move, Kimmy. It was a pleasure to hear and see the joy in your words at finally being where you want to be.
I loved reading about your family, Adrienne. I have always and always will think you are an impressive woman and a fantastic mother.

You two women rock, and I am proud to call you my friends. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

One of those days - Part Twenty None

This afternoon I spent an hour on the phone with five different departments and seven different people trying to get one answer to a loan question. I got it, but holy freeholy I was about to scream.

But now that I'm home, I've hugged my wife, dinner is being prepared, and we're going to hang out at a family dance camp later tonight..... all is now good. :)

I promise to write a good post tomorrow for the end of NaBloPoMo.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I won - Part Twenty Eight

I won one half of the pie contest today.

My half? Presentation. Thank you very much.

I think a few pictures were snapped, so I'll add them when/if they are shared with me.

I hope both you ladies had a good Thanksgiving. :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pie Time - Part Twenty Seven

Tonight is pie making night.

Alli and I both had to work today and then we have to work on Friday, which eliminates any chance of getting home to Ohio, just like last year. Also like last year, we have some great friends who also can't make it home, who invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner. They have a few other couples coming over, so it was decided we were going to have a pie baking contest. Alli and I want to double our chances of winning, so we're each making a pie.

My pie is one of my Mom's old recipes, called Colonial Innkeeper's Pie. It has a flour/pastry/cake  level, which has a chocolate layer poured over it before it goes in the oven. The chocolate cooks down through the body of the cake layer and then settles into a bottom layer. Oh my, so very good.

Alli's pie is a Pumpkin Pecan Pie. Exactly as it sounds, it's a pumpkin pie with a pecan pie top. We haven't tried this before, but we love both of those individually, so we can only imagine it's going to be awesome.

Off to do the toothpick test.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lost - Part Twenty Six
































Monday, November 25, 2013

Flying the bird - Part Twenty Five

Had a funny moment on the way to work this morning.

Coming up to an intersection of two five lane roads.
I'm in the middle turning lane waiting on the traffic to go past me so I can turn left.
Got stuck in the middle of the intersection waiting for traffic coming the other way.
As the light turned yellow to red, a car coming the other way lays on his horn to yell at me.
I look towards his car.
As he revs up his car and pulls towards me, hand laid flat on his horn, cell phone in the other hand pressed to his ear, he then proceeds to take his hand off his horn to flip me off, and his car jerks out of his control.
Cell phone goes flying and man's eyes almost bug out of his head.

Turns out you have to have a hand on the steering wheel to steer a car.

I admit my error in this scenario at committing to the intersection when I should have stayed behind the line. I'll also admit I laughed aloud at the man's predicament. The best part? The guy in the car behind this man was laughing hysterically at the moron trying to regain control of his car.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clean and refreshing - Part Twenty Four

Earlier today I realized I forgot to post yesterday. Probably for best, since the topic I had in mind was about farting. Yikes.

On a much brighter and better smelling topic, we rented one of those big professional carpet shampoo/scrubber things today. We have big fluffy carpet in our house, and with a dog and, well, my own messy habits, the cleaning was past due.

I spent most of the afternoon moving furniture and watching Alli do all the actual cleaning. Thanks to her, it now smells fresh and clean.

And now we're sitting down on the couch to watch Wizard of Oz. Good times.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cookie time - Part Twenty Two

Soooo........ I had plans to get all insightful this evening, but Alli just said she wants to make cookies. And, well, that sounds like more fun than writing.

So we're off to the grocery store to buy supplies and then bake cookies at this crazy hour. I love this woman. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eleven things - Part Twenty One

I've avoided the silly circles that have been floating throughout FB these last couple weeks. I haven't been given a number, changed my profile picture to a giraffe, or exposed cellphone snapshots. My Mom almost caught me up in something about a mouse, but that died out quickly. Despite staying out of those things on purpose, I did enjoy reading the posts in that first game where people shared stuff about themselves that other people may not have known. So I thought I'd share my own list here on my blog, and of course I'll do ELEVEN things. :)

  1. I miss having cats.
  2. I love taking photographs and wish I had at least one photo album from each year of my life.
  3. I was going to go to college in Nashville, TN and was even accepted into the Vanderbilt University Marching Band, but decided I didn't want to go to college that far away from home.
  4. For the first six months after my ex first left me, I slept --on average-- only 3 hours a night, and never went to bed before 3am.
  5. I am fortunate enough to say I have at least sixty people I consider "good" friends.
  6. I love sending cards to people. In fact, I sent three cards yesterday, one on Tuesday, and two on Monday.
  7. My single biggest pet peeve is drivers not using turn signals. Seriously, I haaaaaaaaaaate that.
  8. My favorite food is apples.
  9. I own thirty four pipes and enough pipe tobacco to last --at my rate of smoking-- for more than twenty years.
  10. I am quite girly when it comes to scented candles. I've purchased hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of PartyLite candles over the years, and there is almost always a candle burning when I am home by myself. All the candles and candle paraphernalia on our wedding registry were placed there by me.
  11. My beautiful wife is thirteen years, ten months, and twenty days younger than me. What's that have to do with me? I scored that sweet piece of awesomeness, that's what.
Alright, I challenge you Adrienne and Kimmy. Your turn to share eleven things about you. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Whaddya wanna be when ya grow up? - Part Twenty

Today I had a post-interview conversation with my boss concerning a potential promotion. I'm pretty happy at this new bank, and if I get this new job, I'll get back into that role where I'm the go-to guy. That kind of position keeps me away from that old feeling of being in the wrong profession. As long as the money is right, I'm pretty sure the job is mine. I'll let you know in a week or so.

In the midst of all this job talk, I had a conversation in my head about what kind of jobs I'd do if nothing stood in my way like money or location or good ol' fashioned practicality. Here's what I came up with...

Of all the jobs I've had and done, my favorite job was working at the Nursery. Besides the joy of being outside all the time, I felt good like I was making the word a better place. I don't mean that in a cliché kind of way, I mean it literally... planting trees and shrubs makes me feel like I'm making the world better. I still make it a point to plant at least one tree a year.

A job I wish I'd had a better opportunity to spend more time at, was being a cabinet-maker. Besides the joy of working with my Dad, there was an unexplainable awe watching him transform raw wood into beautiful cabinetry. I certainly carry his passion in my blood, and I've made more than a few of my own piles of sawdust in my adult life, but it was something I never had a chance to really pursue. I may not have liked it as much as I dream, but there's something about woodworking that still calls to me. (I even have a few projects in mind for Christmas presents.)

I've always been fascinated with people who can turn hobbies into money-making opportunities. For me, it sure would be fun to turn gardening into some kind of job. I've never been afraid or even experienced that moment people warn against, when a hobby becomes a job and no longer becomes enjoyable. Sure, there were times I hated some jobs at the Nursery, but I always liked where I was at. I think the same could go for gardening. If only I could figure out how to make money teaching others how to properly dig in the dirt to grow their groceries.

Lastly, I would really love to make a living writing books. This is something I'm truly considering the logistics of. Stay tuned on this one.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind tonight.
This was a fun post to ponder.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Getting back on the weight loss train - Part Nineteen

I've shared much of my own weight issues over the last few years. I've been excited for people I know that have decided to make the same choices to better themselves. And I've cheered on those I've felt wouldn't take my encouragement the wrong way.

While I'm happy I haven't gained any weight back, I would really like to get off this plateau and continue losing weight and hit that magic 100 number.

One thing I haven't shared too much about, is Alli's own weight-loss path. In a short amount of months, she's hit thirty pounds lost and even ran her first 5K a few weeks ago. I am so darn proud of her for making her own efforts and sticking to them.

We have some friends who have jumped on the Beach Body wagon, and Alli and I are going to start one of those workouts, together, in January. We'd love to start sooner, but we are being smart about our budget after me being without work for almost four months as well as paying for a wedding which erased all of our savings.

We already eat better than either one of us have our entire lives, and we are both more active than we ever were before. That feels great, and we think this next step is exactly what we need to hit our own individual goals. And I can't tell you how excited I am to be doing this WITH her instead of on our own. That makes me smile.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Electronic expectations - Part Eighteen

Over my backpacking weekend, I received four FB messages, two voicemails, and six direct emails. Of those twelve messages, each one being purposely left for me and not part of a mass message, three of them were followed up with somewhat testy messages because I had not replied. My first thought was that maybe these individuals didn't know I was out in the woods. And then I realized that each one of those messages mentioned my trip, right alongside a little bit of guilt for not returning the previous message.

And then it hit me... each of those people probably had the impression I had/have a smart phone, which, of course, gives me access to everything... email, FB, Twitter, everything. I mean, what normal person in this day-n-age doesn't have some version of a smart phone, right? Well, this guy doesn't, that's who. Worse than that, who could ever imagine someone else turning off their phone? Well, I had my phone off most of the long weekend, that's who.

It's interesting to me the expectations that the iPhone (and every other phone that's followed behind it) have imprinted onto our brains. I'm not talking about being able to Google anything, find our way using online maps, listening to music, taking pictures, updating FB and Twitter, having conversations with our thumbs, calling people by just saying their names, or everything else these amazing pieces of technology can do... no, I'm talking about the fact that they have created in our brains the expectation that all of us can do all of those things at any given moment. Even, as it turns out, on the top of a mountain or the bottom of a valley.

Obviously I'm not talking about whether or not you have cell phone reception, rather the fact that people except everyone around them to be at the same level of technology as they themselves have. Or maybe looked at from a different angle: expect everyone else to be as electronically connected as they themselves are. These kind of expectations can lead to annoyance, anger, or maybe even sadness, when we don't get responses or replies in the timing we expect them.

There's probably no need for me to spell out the moral of the story here. I'll wrap this up by saying this: it might do us all a world of good to not put any expectations on those we try to reach out to. Just because the world is at our fingertips, doesn't mean those we are trying to find are the same distance away.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Back from the mountains - Part Seventeen

What a fun weekend. 

We climbed mountain after mountain.
We slept under the stars.
We scared some other hikers.
We walked through the clouds and then got high enough to be above them.
We were rained on all three days. 
We hiked the ridge line of a mountain range called, "Seven Sisters."
We spent half our hiking time close to a mile above sea level. 
We slid.
We slipped.
We fell.
We got back up.
We pooped in the woods.
We got respectful nods from day-hikers who were uber impressed (and jealous) we were backpacking.
We talked late into the night.
We made and drank cowboy coffee to wake up in the morning.
We pumped water out of crystal clear, ice cold, mountain springs and streams.
We sweated and shivered, sometimes at the same time. 
We saw views from mountain tops that some will only dream of.

And the best part...
At the end of our three day hike, we were met by wives who were super happy to see us and hugged and kissed us despite how we smelled.

What a fun weekend. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Taking a hike - Part Fourteen

I chuckle every time I write the Part in my titles, because it makes me think there are multiple other posts with the same topic... as opposed to this just being Part of the whole month. It's the little things that make me smile.

I'm apologizing ahead of time because I am going to miss day-part sixteen. A friend and I are headed out on a three day backpacking trip, leaving tomorrow and getting back Sunday night. So I'll be able to post before I leave and when I get back, but I doubt I'll be able to find wifi on top of a 5000 foot mountain. 

I had been planning a trip back to the Appalachian Trail with a group of guys, but not a single one of them were able to make it. I was bummed, but still decided to do some hiking. We are fortunate enough to live among some of the highest mountain ranges east of the Rockies. (Mt. Mitchell -the highest mountain on this side of the Mississippi- is only fifteen miles north.) And what goes along with those mountains are lots of hiking opportunities. I called my good friend Andrew who also lives here in Black Mountain, and the two of us planned a hiking trip across the two sides of mountain ranges that surround us. It's going to be a rugged, difficult, long hike, but in the process we'll bag the peaks of around ten mountains, and hit some of the highest points of our country.

I still get sad sometimes thinking back on my failed AT thru-hike, but trips like this sure do help me remember I still got my legs and I can still hike. I'm off to get my gear ready. :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Computer woes - Part Thirteen

Not sure why, but my computer is giving me crap tonight. Maybe it's because of the day (13). I had a great post written but I will have to put it up tomorrow. Posting this from a phone. Bleh. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eleven Twelve Thirteen - Part Twelve

Pretty amazing day, huh? Almost as cool as Eleven Eleven Eleven, but not as quite.

Know what else is amazing? My wife.

Not sure what else I need to say. I have an amazing wife and I'm enjoying the coolness of numerically neat calendar fun.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Eleven Eleven - Part Eleven

I really liked a couple of Adrienne's suggestions, so for this glorious day of glorious named beauty, here we go...

Name five things inside your refrigerator right now and how you feel about them.
I opened the fridge and these are the first five things I saw:

  1. The bag of apples we got at the store yesterday. How do I feel about them? Well, apples are my favorite food, so I feel pretty good we have them. But more than that, I'm pretty jazzed they are local apples and that they are unsprayed, organic apples. Unsprayed means not as pretty, but oh so tasty. Man oh man, I love apples.
  2. Random bottles of IPA, that's beer for the layperson. How do I feel about them? Well, now I'm thirsty for a beer. (This may not be a good game.)
  3. Earth Balance natural buttery spread. How do I feel about it? Alli and I replaced margarine and butter with this over a year ago, and we've never looked back. It's made from a blend of olive oils and is naturally free of hydrogenated oils, zero grams of trans fat, gluten free, non-dairy, and vegan. It melts just like butter and is so much better for you than margarine. We still have real butter, but for everyday use, I doubt we'll ever buy anything else.
  4. Parmesan cheese. How do I feel about it? Umm, it's tasty. That's all I have for this one.
  5. My Nalgene. How do I feel about it? This one holds a special place in my heart. It has stickers all over it, it was my water source on the Appalachian Trail, it's been on every road trip I've taken the last three years, and it was the first piece of gear I bought as I started to prep for the AT, it was in my hand as Alli and I took our first hike and she climbed her first mountain. But a bigger deal than all of that, this Nalgene was the first thing I bought for myself when I was all-of-a-sudden single in the spring of 2010. This Nalgene is a part of me, maybe more than any other single material thing I own.
That was fun. I didn't expect to find something in my fridge that I would be so emotionally attached to, but I bet that's where those kind of prompts come from.

Happy Eleven Eleven to everyone.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Living room on the porch again - Part Ten

I keep getting back to my computer super late, and thereby feeling like I'm throwing up garbage posts. For that I apologize. Seeing as it is on the way towards midnight once again as I sit down, this will be another short one. I promise to do better.

Tonight was another fun night with friends. We started the evening by making good ol' fashioned tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. Then we went outside where I had moved a couch and the TV, and settled down to watch a movie under the stars. Of course, we added a fire in the porch firepit as well as some hot chocolate to make it a perfect autumn evening. All of it was Alli's idea which just reinforced how awesome this woman is.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Scary Twin Houses - Day Nine

Remember those people that made me miss the first day of NaBloPoMo? Well, tonight I took them to a pair of abandoned houses. All I'll say so as not to disturb the spirits, was that a random light turned on and then off as we attempted to leave. (Keep in mind, abandoned means no electricity.) So of course I drove back up the creepy driveway , and yep, the light turned back on. That was until Alli yelled, "This is when we die!" At that exact moment, the light turned off. Yes, the screams were deafening.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Guilt, Sadness, Wondering - Day Eight

I just got done watching Billy Graham's special. Wow. What a great man of God. As the hour long show ended, I found myself crying. I couldn't exactly explain why, but I know something in this man's words and heart was working on me.

The main feeling I was having, was one of guilt. There was no one specific thing, just this overriding feeling that I am often --maybe even always-- somehow skirting the lines in life. Some inner analysis drew me to the realization that growing up in the home and church that I grew up in, has left me with a continuous sense of always looking over my shoulder, like what I'm doing is wrong. I had great parents and I'm so very thankful for the Christian structure I had as a child and teen, but looking back now I see that it was overbearing and heavy. There's no blame there, simply an inner peace that I don't need to be bound by that anymore. I don't have to be guilty about everything, all my actions are not sneaky or misleading or sly just because they aren't how I was brought up. I really do have the option and opportunity to be my own person. 

The tears were also of sadness that I'd missed out on a lot by always trying to live up to those irrational standards I just discussed. In that moment, as I listened to Rev. Graham pray, I let go of those things and made a silent pact with God that I would now enjoy the things that He had given me, things I have subconsciously felt guilt about. Smoking, sex, my job, lifestyle decisions, and more.

I know this is a weird post, and I apologize for its randomness..... but that man's prayer and the song that ended the TV special, left me wondering where my life would be if I simply let myself love God and let that love override feelings of improperly placed guilt and sadness. I don't have any reason at all to feel bad about my life, God gave me this life and all that is in it and it's about time I start appreciating that.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Happy Birthday - Day Seven

Today, the venerable Billy Graham turns 95 years old. There is a big birthday bash for him at a local Inn in Asheville, and some mega-celebrities are going to be there. But bigger than those celebrities can ever be, is the far-reaching touch that Rev. Billy Graham has had on this world. I know so many people who have been to his rallies, and even more that have seen him on TV. In fact, I still remember the first time I saw him on TV with my family, and my Dad telling us this was something we had to see.

As the crow flies, Billy Graham lives about a mile away from me, up and over a small mountain. While I've never met him, I think that's pretty cool.

So join me in wishing this man of God a Happy Birthday. And join me in prayer for him and his continuing mission to reach the world.

Completely unrelated, yesterdays post was the 700th for ELEVEN.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Saying Goodbye - Day Six

Last Friday, a lady named Becky that I worked with at my new bank, worked her last day at that bank. She was two months shy of being there seven years. She wasn't getting enough out of the bank to stay put, and without enough recognition being bestowed on her --recognition she more than deserved-- she decided to move on. I may not have worked with her a long time, but she is one of those people that you know you'll remember for the rest of your life.

Skip ahead to yesterday, and I found myself needing some information on a loan she had passed on to me to complete after she was gone. As much as I hated to reach out to her, I just had to take care of the customer in the best possible way. After a few text messages back-n-forth, she gave me the information I needed, and I logged into her old account files to pull the information.

As I sat at her desk missing her wisdom and friendship, I thought back to my own times leaving banks. In a job like banking, you create relationships with your clients that run deep and real. Money and the usage of money is very intimate, and causes people to trust you more than most other people in their life. And when it comes to co-workers, you deal with that intimacy and share it silently with each other. You lean on each other and depend on each other like few others can understand. And then, in the pursuit of bettering your own life, you walk away from those relationships with a mere two-week-notice.

This isn't a slam on my recently departed co-worker or even myself, it's just how life sometimes plays out. It's more than a weird feeling to walk away from people and relationships and files when you've poured so much of yourself into them. Doing a mortgage for someone is a months-long endeavor for you and a life-altering decision for the client. That means something, something intense. And then there's the hours upon hours you spend with co-workers, hours that often equal more than the time you spend with your own family... that's a big deal.

I don't know where I'm going with this post. Honestly there's more in my mind about this than I can sort out into anything cohesive. I guess I'll just lay this out there: Cyndy, Linda, Kim, Carolyn, and yes, you too Becky, know that I hold you dearly in my heart. And even though we may never see each other again, I love all of you ladies more than I can ever properly share. Our time together meant the world to me.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Clark versus nature - Day Five

My dog Clark has a decided distaste for all things nature. He'd rather walk on concrete or asphalt than dirt or gravel, he makes wide berths around piles of fallen leaves, he prefers to pee on mailbox poles instead of trees, and he really really dislikes the rain. Tonight, he jumped over a pile of leaves to get to his favorite mailbox instead of walking through them. The other day he stood on the edge of the road staring at a cat because chasing it would involve him running through the grass. And when we adopted him a few months ago, we couldn't get him to sit still for a picture on the lawn of the shelter while he sat like a perfect gentleman when we walked over to the sidewalk.

I attribute much of this to the fact that he spent nine of his first eleven months on this planet penned up in tiny concrete kennels in two different shelters. No running, no getting out in the elements, no enjoying fresh air. He does like going for hikes with me, but he's pretty darn happy when we get home and he gets to crawl up on the couch.

I'm looking forward to see how he deals with snow this winter, but I'm sure he'll care for it as little as he does the rest of what nature has to throw at him. I just hope he likes the doggy-sweaters that Alli insists she is going to dress him in. That's what you get for not liking nature... doggy-sweaters. Yikes.

Seriously? - Day Four

Four days in and I've failed twice. I completely forgot last night. The NaBloPoMo people should put me on suspension.

I promise to do better.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Cohabitation - Day Three

I have no desire to trump Kimmy's moving news, but there's a possibility we may be moving to. Well, at least, there will be discussion of said move in the next few days.

Our dear friends here in Black Mountain, Andrew & Megan, have a house in town while we have a house just outside of town. Both of us pay a pretty penny for our houses and could use some help in our pursuit of paying off college loans. Andrew's parents happen to own a house three doors down from us in the same circle of houses, and they have it up for rent. The house is ginormous with three bathrooms, four bedrooms, a huge kitchen, formal dining room, an office, a large living room, and a huge "family" room. It's the perfect kind of house to split up in a duplex kind of arrangement, and the right price that would save us both a bunch of money.

All of this comes with the usual concerns of meshing personalities and living patterns, but after weighing the pros and cons, it's at least worth considering. So we're planning on getting together tonight or tomorrow, asking the tough questions, crunching the numbers, and making a decision. My immediate fear is that I'm too annoying to stand living with, but I plan on bring that up first thing. I know more than a few people who have cohabitated with another couple, so I have them to fall back on for advice.

We'll see.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Clark - Day Two

Since I just wrote out the events of last night, for day two I think I'll just share some pictures of our new dog, Clark. Enjoy...


A crazy night - Day One

I failed NaBloPoMo on day one, but hopefully the fact that after I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and left for work, the only time I was home the rest of the day was long enough to change out of my suit and into jeans and a tee shirt, will justify my lateness. There has to be a story there, right? Oh, there's a story.....

After a super long day at work, filled with more problems and screwed up schedules than anyone deserves, I got a phone call on my way home that our Black Mountain friends wanted to go out to dinner. That was followed by another phone call that Alli had just had an even more horrible day and wanted to do something. A wardrobe change and a few minutes later, we were on our way to dinner with our friends.

We enjoyed an awesome meal, quite a few drinks, and great fellowship with dear friends over the next couple hours. As the hour turned eleven o'clock, we ordered another round of drinks, and then decided to go visit a supposedly haunted old dormitory. We drove back to Black Mountain, and under the darkness of night --the ladies more than tipsy-- we snuck into the four story, hundred plus year old building.

This creepy building was still used on the lower floors for random events throughout the year, and was on a campus filled with twenty or so other buildings. An event was happening in other buildings, so the campus was filled with cars and random people walking the grounds, which enforced the need to be quiet and use no lights. After getting in, we explored the huge building, going up and down the floors and in and out of the hundreds of rooms on each floor, taking turns jumping out of dark rooms and scaring the pee out of each other.

We couldn't find a way into the creepiest, most abandoned part of the building, the attic, so we eventually found our way to the dark basement for more scaring and drunken-hushed laughter. (Other stuff happened while we were in the building, but I shall remain silent on those facts to protect the reputation of those involved.)

After an hour or so, we snuck out of the old building and made our way towards the car. As we walked through the parking lot, the ladies still tipsy-weaving-and-laughing, someone noticed a school bus painted white, very akin to the old church busses we all grew up with. One of the ladies declared they wanted to go into the bus, so I pulled the creaky doors open and walked up the steps. As soon as I got inside, I noticed it wasn't a church bus but rather, had been converted to an RV of sorts. A few more steps and I saw a mini-fridge on the left, a few more steps revealed a couch, and then a few more steps showed a bed built across the back of the bus. And then I saw it, as I stood two or three feet from the bed, three people asleep on said bed. My heart leaped in my chest and I bolted out of the bus, slamming the door behind me, whisper-screaming there were people in there. We all took off running and yelling and laughing.

Before going home, the four of us visited other places around the campus, including a ropes course in the tree tops and laying beside a beautiful pond lit only by the immense amount of stars overhead. By the time our friends dropped us off and we lay down in bed, it was almost three in the morning. Unfortunately I had to get back up at 5:30 to go to work again today, so let's just say I'm more than worn out. But our adventure last night makes up for it.

And that's why I was late. :)