It’s a Long One

I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting my next blog, so, here it is! It’s been a not-so-fun week, but I’m sure looking back, it will be a funny story.

Ryan came up to visit for Labor Day weekend since he got a 4 day weekend, and our friend Brian was getting married. It was also the weekend of Ryan’s high school reunion, so, although it was going to be rather busy, we had it all mapped out: head to Jonesboro Saturday, go to wedding, head to Flippin, go to reunion, then see the Dues, and then, Sunday, we’d head back to my parents before he headed out on Monday. All planned out. Well, as most of you are aware, the best laid plans rarely survive the first meeting with the enemy (I think I just butchered that Patton quote). See, I forgot to mention that I was the photographer for said wedding, and less than a week out, Brian called to confirm. Turned out, I was the ONLY photographer, and I needed to be there for the whole wedding and the reception. And, what I had thought was a 10 o’clock-ish wedding, was in fact a 6 pm wedding with a reception until 11pm. Did I mention I’m 11 weeks pregnant at this point? Not that I minded doing this, but lately, bed time for me has been in the 8:30 pm range. It was going to be an interesting evening. Needless to say, this also meant Ryan would miss his high school reunion.

So, we revamped our plans and headed to Flippin Friday after I got off work. We got to visit with Ryan’s family, and see his niece, Shayla, whom we rarely see. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out where to buy a last-minute external flash for my camera because I’ve found out the wedding is in a dark Church, lit by candlelight (note to girls getting married: candlelight is pretty, but is a nightmare for your photographer!). Luckily, I have this great father-in-law who has almost as much camera equipment as a professional photographer, and he was kind enough to let me borrow it all. After a 20-minute lesson on how to use the studio flashes (the big lights with the umbrellas that you find in professional studios), Ryan and I took off to Jonesboro.

I won’t go over the details, but after seeing the inside of the Church where the ceremony was going to take place, I was probably more nervous than the bride. Somehow, though, I managed to find the right settings on the two cameras, and the pictures turned out great. Ryan and I even had fun. Turns out a lot of our friends from school were there, so Ryan had plenty of people to talk to while I worked, and I got to sit down and rest for awhile during the lulls at the reception. The food was really good, too. However, on an aside, I really need to buy a ladder if I’m going to do another wedding. I spent a lot of time climbing on chairs, and even the roof of the limo to capture shots.

After the reception, we were way too tired to drive back to Searcy, so we headed over to ‘hotel row’ to find a place to stay. We always enjoy the Comfort Inn, and they give a nice military discount, too. Unfortunately, this one was in the old Wilson Hotel building, and it was not the Comfort Inn we were used to. Our first room looked like someone was still staying in it–the bed was unmade, the tv on, and the bathroom light was on. We backed right out and headed back downstairs. They were out of the regular rooms, so she upgraded us for free to a suite. Woo-hoo ! It was our lucky night after all. Haha, it didn’t really matter–we were so tired we went straight to bed. However, I wouldn’t recommend anyone staying at that hotel. When we got up the next morning, we smelled cigarette smoke coming through the bathroom vent, and the couches were ripped in several places. The breakfast was good, though.

Anyway, we got on the road fairly early to head back to Searcy. Ryan was anxious to see the dogs, and there wasn’t anything keeping us in Jonesboro. We called Mom and Dad on the way back, and by the time we got home, the fishing boat was hitched and ready to go. We had a little bit of a late start due to a slight mix-up regarding lunch. For those of you who have traveled with Mom and Dad, you can imagine, but for those of you who haven’t, let me just say, you don’t fail to feed Mom, and you don’t ever want to thwart a trip’s progress with Dad. But, we made it out to the river, and got the boat in the water with no other problems. It was a little crowded, so we ended up going a ways up the river to start fishing. Dad caught the first fish. I caught the second fish. Mom caught the third fish. Now, for those of you who know Ryan, you know he was talking big before we got started about how he was going to catch all the fish, etc. etc. Did I want to make it a competition, etc.. By the time I had caught my second fish, Ryan still hadn’t caught one, and he was understandably a little frustrated. I tried not to rub it in too much, though. Good thing, too, because by the time we moved the boat down to our favorite spot (everyone else finally cleared out after hearing all the thunder), Ryan started catching fish. He made up for getting a late start. I couldn’t seem to land another fish, but he was catching one after another. Pretty soon he caught up to Dad, and between the two of them, they caught our combined limit. Mom and I ended up just being passengers on the boat.

Ryan left about 0530 Monday morning to head back to Fort Benning. I woke up just long enough to ask him if he had everything and kiss him goodbye. Around 1030 later that morning, I was getting ready to walk out the door on my way to Wal-Mart. I grabbed my purse, and it suddenly dawned on me. I crossed my fingers and picked up the phone to call Ryan. “Please tell me you got my wallet out of your backpack before you left.” Silence on the other end. See, I didn’t mention that I had given my wallet to Ryan to hold while we went fishing. By the time I remembered, though, he was in Alabama, almost home. So, here I was, with no driver’s license, no debit card, no military ID… I told Ryan he’d just have to find a place to overnight it. Luckily, the UPS store inside the PX was open on Labor Day. So, he overnighted it to me at work. The next day, I borrowed Dad’s ID to get on post (I go through the same gate with the same guard working every day. All I did was quickly flash the ID and smile and wave). I anxiously awaited for the UPS truck to arrive…and it did. Without my wallet. After about an hour of investigative research, I finally found out why. Turns out, that while the UPS store was open, they weren’t actually shipping anything. This was information I thought they should have mentioned to Ryan when he paid for overnight service. So, my wallet wouldn’t actually get to me until Wednesday. Of course, this made my job interesting, as I need my ID card to access my computer. Luckily, I had plenty of other things to keep me busy.

This blog is pretty long, so I’ll save the rest of my story for another. If you made it this far, congratulations. If you just skipped down to the bottom, I don’t blame you!

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