Joe and I piled in the car with much photo equipment, luggage and the dog on Friday after work. We listened to Joe's hand crafted music mix on the drive up. Everything from Elvis Costello to the friggin' Lovin Spoonful, Buddy Holly, Cake, The Who and the Pixies plus damn near every other song that either one of us has ever truly loved. It was a car rave minus the flashing seizure lights, ecstasy and tweaker kids sucking on ring pops. It was choice.
We were entertained on the last half of the trip by an insane lightning display. A thunder storm was looming over Omaha and the sheet lightning was nearly constant. It was beautiful. And naturally two seconds after we arrived, as we hauled the bags into the house, the sky exploded and dumped a bucket of water on our heads. I looked like I'd just gotten out of the pool. After toweling off and rinsing the chlorine out of my hair, we hung out with Sherry and John, Joe's parents, and ate some 500 calorie per slice muddy rocky road brownie chocolate devil cake with Cool Whip on top, as Sherry said "to cut the richness." Then we collapsed and I read an uplifting book about murder.
Photo by Jim Sands
Saturday Joe had a photo shoot with his photo club at the Omaha Zoo. Photo shoot and photo club are loose affiliations of photographers, because those folks tend to like to wander and do their own thing, unconstrained by group dynamics. So Joe and his brother Jim, who was in town for a dental conference, wandered around the zoo for a couple of hours. Gorillas, lions, tiger poop because they are boys, meerkats, jaguars, peacocks, butterflies, all and sundry other animals and fish were photographed. While the men went on a wild life expedition, I did delicate lady stuff.
Katrina, Bethany and I headed out to It's Yours Pottery and settled in before the chaos of the two kids' birthday parties began. I like these women. As I've written about here before, Bethany and Katrina were friends with Joe in high school and now he has to share them with me. We talked home schooling, mothers, marriage, booze and blogging. And we may have different experiences or disagree on some of this stuff, but we can talk about it without anyone's feelings getting hurt. Friends should be able to do that.
We painted. We talked. We took random photos. Bethany gave us some painting tips. We glanced sympathetically at the pottery shop staff. We listened to the screaming, sugar dosed kid's party at the long table next to us. Gangs of 4 year olds are not calm and are not good at sitting still, taking directions or painting for that matter. Mob mentality takes over. Especially when the two parents present were jabbering in the corner, leaving the harried pottery shop employees to wrangle the frolicking kid mob. Running, chattering, shrieking, climbing on tables like a passel of wild monkeys, one girl lifted her plate of birthday cake and smashed it in her face, bursting into laughter. The other kids froze for a second, and then several promptly mimicked her. Cake all over. And we kept painting. Once you tuned out the chaos we had a great time. I look forward to seeing the finished products in a couple of weeks.
After that, Blue sushi (blogged here by the lovely Katrina) meet up with the Sands boys. Volcano roll is spicy heaven.
Then dinner party at Katrina and Matt's house which included tasty Bethany and Katrina-made vittles, Joe getting assaulted by four 5 year olds wielding Nerf dart guns, of course more photography by Joe, some margaritas in Tiki glasses, a multi-layered ice cream sandwich cake, and Joe delivering a revenge MarioKart beating to the 5 year olds. Another stellar evening with friends.
When we got back to Joe's parents' house, Sherry and Jim were watching Public Enemies, the Johnny Depp as John Dillinger vehicle. Now this wouldn't warrant mention here, I didn't watch it and have no opinion on the movie itself. But the subtitles were turned on. I thought this was odd, as the movie is in English. Jim and Sherry are not hard of hearing and no one was running on the treadmill at the gym. But all the description, whispers and sound effects are clearly described in the closed captioning. And since Sherry is a bit of a talker during movies, this actually enhances the experience for everyone. You don't miss anything. Because even if Sherry is talking, you can just read the screen. Handy. I stopped mocking them about it and started reading the movie. Because like Jim said, I like reading.
That was pretty much our weekend. Sunday we had a big family breakfast. Then Jim headed back to Madison. And Joe and I headed home. It was a jam packed couple of days, but getting the chance to spend time with friends and family is always worth it. And really the three hour drive, compared to any road trips we've taken lately, is pretty brief. Especially when you travel with your own personal DJ.