This weekend has been extremely busy for us…and a lot of fun! It all started on Thursday evening when we attended the Task Force Falcon Formal Ball at the Crown Coliseum with about 900 other members of Chris’s Task Force and their dates. It was a great chance for me to meet so many of the people that Chris spent his days and nights with in Iraq. We spent a lot of time mingling with his friends and enjoyed dinner with his CO (Company Commander) and his new wife Ellie and his First Sergeant and his wife Debbie. The night consisted of social hour, video presentation, traditional Army toasts, fallen comrade ceremony, dinner, 82nd Chorus performance, guest speaker and dancing. After the ball, we met friends at a local bar for a drink and then headed to another friend’s house to finish out the night. We got home around 1:30am so it was a good thing Chris had Friday off of work.
On Friday we kicked around Fayetteville and spent some time getting a few more things for the apartment and then packed up and drove an hour to Raleigh for the evening. Chris, myself and Grant met my friend Jackie and a couple of her friends at a tapas restaurant called The Red Room. The food was good, the atmosphere was great and we had fun hanging out and catching up! After that we moved on to Bogart’s for some dancing. We were waiting for Major Lamm (one of Chris’s former bosses) and some other friends (Justin, Matt and Mika) to join us but by the time Major Lamm’s flight arrived from Florida it was closing time and we just went back to the hotel to get some sleep. After breakfast and spending some time catching up with everyone, Chris and I found the outlet mall where we spent the afternoon wandering around shops and had lunch. Chris was even nice enough to buy me a wallet and two tops at the Banana Republic Factory Store. He also picked up the new Stephen King novel that was just released, Duma Key, which I will not be reading as his writing scares me to death!
On a whim, we decided to head to Wilmington, North Carolina and spend more time with Major Lamm and the gang because his flight arrived so late the night before. It was a good thing we took the TomTom with us, it made getting to the hotel a breeze! We stayed at the Holiday Inn SunSpree located right on the water. After we checked in, we ran into another pair of guys who came to Wilmington to see Major Lamm, Rich and Mika (yes a second Mika). We went down to the beach after we checked in and it was super windy and cold….not exactly beach weather! Lucky for us the hotel had two pools, one indoor and one outdoor, and three hot tubs so we decided to go find some swimwear at Wal-Mart, we didn’t think to pack any (or enough clothing) because we weren’t intending to end up there. Once we returned from our Wal-Mart trip (once again, thank you TomTom!) it was time to get ready for dinner. Our hotel had a shuttle that took us to our restaurant, 22 North for free. Chris and I both decided on seafood since we were at the ocean. I had the Pecan Crusted Atlantic Flounder and he had one of the specials Citrus Zing Mahi Mahi, both were excellent. The Mahi Mahi came with fried oysters, which gave Chris and I a chance to try them and we both were not crazy about them. After dinner and the longest cab ride ever, we arrived in down town Wilmington for some dancing (Major Lamm really likes to dance so we made it a point to go somewhere he could cut a rug). After a couple of attempts, we found a suitable place: Level Five. It was a rooftop bar that overlooked the downtown skyline. There was a fairly good DJ so everyone was happy. A bachelorette party was taking place in the bar so the guys kept getting approached to help the bride complete her “tasks”. Rich had to take off his shirt, Chris gave her his phone number (work number, not our home number and I gave him permission) and one of the other guys gave her a piggy back ride around the bar…all in all it added some excitement to the evening. Once Major Lamm had danced his fill (including a couple of dance offs that included break dancing), everyone was ready to go back to the hotel….unfortunately so was everyone else in the bar and getting a cab prove to be a challenging task! It was about 30 degrees outside and it took about an hour to find a cab, even though we called several times. Finally we made it to the hotel and into bed around 3:30am pre-time change.
On Sunday, we drove home after enjoying Waffle House and have been enjoying some down time after our busy but fun weekend (we have been napping on the couch while Chris watches the race). We have about a week to recover before going skiing next weekend and then home to Ohio for Easter and to spend time with family. Chris has Monday off but Tuesday returns to full work days for the four days before leave starts.