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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Impromptu Trip to Virginia to See Ronald and Shayna

It was a wild ride!

We took an impromptu trip to Virginia to see my older children, Ron and Shayna. Actually I had been planning on going down there soon. The boys came home after spending a week at their fathers. I looked at the calendar and realized that I would be dog-sitting for my father’s dog the following week until the end of July and my son would be going out to sea in August and would not return until April or May. My dad suggested we jump in the car and go. So we did.

Wait! What?!? Matching swimming trunks? Ohhhh Nooooo!

We packed a swim suit, blanket, pillow, pants, shorts, t-shirt and hoodie. We wore short, s-shirt and flip flops. We also packed Capri Suns, bottles of water, chips, cheese and fruit. Then we filled up the tank and hit the road. My dog stayed behind with my dad.


Ron is so cool.

We took our time getting there; stopping when we wanted for food, potty breaks and sight seeing. The boys went to sleep around 11 and I stopped to sleep at an oasis on the Ohio or Pennsylvania Toll road around 1am.

We woke up around 6am and got back on the road. Later in the evening we saw signs for caverns. As we drove we realized they were only 5 miles off the expressway so we stopped to find out the details. They said it was cold and sandy down there and they suggest pants and a light jacket. They also said it was uneven and sandy and our flip flops may be uncomfortable. Sadly we left because we thought our entertainment would be the beach…not an underground adventure.

As we were heading back to the expressway we discussed the possibility of finding a local store to purchase shoes. We found a Kmart, bought cute and inexpensive canvas tennis shoes and headed back to the caverns. Yayee!!!

It cost around $35 for the three of us to take the tour. We thought it was the neatest thing we had ever seen. The tour lasted over an hour and we went around 250 feet underground. It was amazing! The tour guide was awesome and let us spend as much time looking as we wanted. The children each purchased a rock for under $2 in the gift shop. Then we were back on the road.

One of the rest areas in Virginia had MANY flyers for things to do there. We picked up a lot of them to look through as the kids place. We arrived there around 11pm and visited for an hour or so and went to bed. Z and I slept on either side of a L-shaped sofa and B slept on a futon mattress on the floor.

While we were there we went to Virginia Beach twice. There was a hurricane somewhere that was creating bigger than usual waves so it was quite exciting. On our second trip to the beach the boys got caught up in the rip tide. They were not swept far out to sea but were out over my (and their) head and the tide was pulling them quickly down the beach, parallel to the beach.

I kept my eyes on them the entire time and at first I thought they were goofing around because I kept signaling them to come back up to shore and they just waved at me and kept playing. Actually, I think they were ignoring me at first. But soon I realized they were floating and after a minute that meant they were treading water. I was also having to cut through families playing on the beach to keep up with them on land and soon realized they were caught in the current.

This had happened to me once on a beach in Lake Michigan so I knew they were in a serious situation. It was quite scary because I am not a strong swimmer. I was swept off my feet and into water over my head and could not get back to shore. Thank God that I had heard of this and had been told to swim parallel to the shore. I was not able to swim parallel to the shore but instead focused on staying afloat, which is not an easy task in choppy water, and eventually the current took my back toward shore…much father down than my friends. Anyhow, I began signaling and hollering for them to swim down shore instead of toward the shore. I do not think they understood. They seemed to try to swim toward me.

I was half way between life guards and they were traveling so fast that I did not want to take my eyes off them to backtrack to the lifeguard I had passed before I realized they were in trouble. I headed out into the water to see if maybe they were not over my head, but they were. My youngest said, “help”. The sand was very uneven and had many drop offs and I kept falling in over my head. There was a couple closer to them than me. The boys were getting ready to float by this couple when I asked them if they would grab my children for me. They both swam less than 4 feet out and brought them to where they could touch again.

Thank GOD. I knew better than to get out where I could not touch because then all three of us would need to be rescued!

This experience scared my youngest. He does not even want to look at pictures from the entire trip because it reminds him of being caught in the water. He was so tired that he thought he was going to drown in a few minutes. They had been treading water for at least 3 minutes from the time I realized they were in trouble until the time the couple snatched them out of the water. I was, and still am very traumatized also. That experience has given me a fresh appreciation for our mortality…not that I needed it.

While we were there we were able to meet Ronald roommates. They seem to get along well as roommates. I was also able to get to know Shayna’s boyfriend a bit. He seems like a wonderful young man. They seem to really enjoy one another a lot.

The boys and Ronald and I went to Journey to the Center of The Earth in 3D. The digital RealD 3D is awesome! I love it!. I lost a contact and had to wear my glasses to the 3d effect was not as good as it would have been if I had my contacts.

Shayna misses the boys a lot. She was very sad to see us go. She is a mamas girl too so it was hard when we said good bye.

I miss my older children so much. I am very proud of the young people they have become. They are wonderful. It is amazing how great they in spite of all the challenges they have faced in their lives so far. It was wonderful to see them.