Our dear friends Austin & Shanda McKeehan and their chitlins have been in North Carolina for 4 years or something, and I haven't made it out to visit them once... even though Austin's owed me a ticket since USC beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl several years back. I suppose I could have gone by myself all this time, but I've been hoping to have someone to take with me. Wait, what's this? I'm MARRIED now?! Well, why don't we go then?
We left last Friday at 6AM, after I got home about 1AM from a business trip to Denver. So I pretty much just stayed up and did laundry and work until I needed to wake Jessica up at 3:30AM for our flight and take Pixie for a decent-sized run to tire her out before our flight. By the tugs on the leash I was getting as I tried to rev up the early-morning engines, I think Pixie was saying, "Geeesh! It's 3:30 AM in the morning! You're never up at this time of morning, let alone running. So WHAT IS THE DEAL?!" Well, we dragged ourselves and our tired dog onto a 6AM flight, landing in lovely Charlotte about 7PM that night. Austin greeted us with his trusty sidekick Will, who successfully pulled Jessica's bag off the conveyor belt in Baggage Claim and, after a few minutes of warm-up time, also successfully began charming my wife with his perceptive statements and tokens of devotion. We were feeling quite at home in Charlotte.
We polished off the evening with Five Guys Burgers. It was tremendous. If you haven't been there, they just opened one up in Beaverton and I highly recommend a trip (we already went again last night), and stayed up late like we were back in college.
Saturday was spent hanging with the kiddos, and watching Coop's baseball game before we headed to the National Whitewater Center for a tremendous adventure there (see Jessica's blog, she certainly does it more justice than I could). It doesn't do it justice, however, to just say that we went there; we were actually running way behind schedule, and Austin had to practically beg the box office personnel to let us on the last run of the day, pay over the phone and bypass half of the orientation (if you've read Jessica's description of the orientation, you'll understand how great that was for us). After thoroughly soaking through our clothes, we sloshed our way to a splendid sushi joint where we dined on rolls and Doctor Dave's Sauce (shhhh! it's secret).
We spent Sunday at church and in naps/football trances before taking a fun walk to see their neighborhood (so perfect it looks like a big movie backlot), polished off with a fantasy basketball draft for me and Austin (I love my team!), and a fun dinner with Shanda's mom there and Shanda on the grill.
We took off Monday afternoon, but not before being treated to some Carolina barbecue and picking up Will and Cooper from school. Earlier in the day I watched Paris for a while, and amazingly she and Pixie got along swimmingly; Paris even got some licks on the palm from Pixie, which made me a bit jealous since it took me about 10 months to get so much as a sniff of a lick from Pix.
Thanks to the McKeehans for being such great hosts! We're amazed that we had such a great time, and that Austin & Shanda (not to mention their kids) showed no signs of being sick of us. I'm particularly pleased that Jessica and Shanda were practically inseparable, even if part of their bonding was the common struggle of dealing with their budget-conscious husbands. And now I will close with my Senior Will-type ode to the McKeehans:
I, David Parker Fuhriman, hereby bequeath to the McKeehans the following:
- To Paris: the key to the heart of our firstborn son.
- To Will: a black t-shirt to cut down the middle - because really, what else could you askf for? Well, perhaps a candy-bar sandwich (my bad).
- To Cooper: More soy butter and more quality time with Jessica.
- To Shanda: Two more hands for crocheting (or you could go Bonnie Consolo with your feet -- just ask Austin about that).
- To Austin: My Spring trip idea -- Vegas. Stay gold.