Here’s the thing, I feel the need to point out that my blogging has waned the past several days. Have you noticed?
I’m behind. Behind in writing and behind in reading. When I find time to read, the background noise increases and becomes too distracting to enjoy what I am reading. When I find time to write, my head is overwhelmed with unorganized ramblings of ideas and my energy level is low to non-existent, so I am unable to organize the rambling of ideas.
What does one call this state? Writer’s block? Lazy writer syndrome? I don’t have the answer, and I don’t have the energy to dwell on finding the answer. Moreover, I know you’d rather I focus on the true purpose of this post. After all, if I am making my return to the blogosphere, I should make my return start off with a bang, right?
We were embarking on a road trip. Road trip! The car was not yet packed, the house was not yet cleaned and the house/dog sitter was barely lined up and booked. Still, we were embarking on a road trip, and we were leaving in 48hrs.
When we woke up on the departure day, I told the boys we would be ready by 10am. When 10:30 came and went, I told the boys we’d leave by Noon. Finally, at 1pm, we pulled out of our driveway, and we drove south.
Seven and a half hours later, we pulled into the driveway of our friends in FL. Woo hoo! We made it! We were exhausted. After entertaining company the day before as well as finishing a day at the office the day of our arrival, our host and hostess (with the mostest) were exhausted. By 11pm, we were all in bed. (I know. Our wild and crazy life is one to be envied by all.)
The next morning, our host and hostess (with the mostest) got ready for work, while their two kids got ready for camp. By 8:15am, the family of four had left for the day. And the four of us? We spent the morning poolside. Life was good. After lunch, we headed for the beach. Again, life was good. When we returned from the beach, we jumped right back into the pool, and waited for our host and hostess (with the mostest) and kids to return from work and camp.
As soon as the hostess (with the mostest) returned, we started packing. We were embarking on another road trip. Road trip!
We were loading up and heading further south. That night, we would be camping in the car, along with approximately 250,00 other road trippers. Road trip!
When we reached our destination, we looked for the best place to set up camp. We approached a section of lawn alongside the water which seemed the perfect place to park. Though Rob scoffed at the $30 price tag for parking in the ‘perfect place’, the hostess with the mostest and I out-voted him, 2 to 1. Lucky for us, we arrived right on time. Had we pulled up an hour later, the ‘perfect place’ would have cost $50.
The kids grew more excited, as we shifted bags, coolers and car seats to make room for blankets, pillows and bodies. The kids were the lucky ones, with room to spread out in the back. The older and gimpier adults (me, Rob and Andrea HT (aka hostess with the mostest)) were crammed in the seats, spending the night in various (uncomfortable) yoga-like positions.
Have I mentioned the heat? The temperature was in the 90s, and the humidity was well over 50%. Even with the windows open and a shoreline breeze, the temperature in the car remained high.
Cramped spaces and high temperatures did not deter the kids from sleeping soundly through the night. While the kids slept under the spell of the sandman, we – the old and gimpy adults – were left behind. Perhaps the sandman has weight limit. Or perhaps, we were just distracted by the heat, humidity and continuous stream of cars and people trying to find a spot to cop. Whatever the reason, we lacked sleep. Interestingly enough, the hours passed quickly and slowly. (How does that work?)
By dawn’s early light, the cars and crowds had doubled – if not tripled. Much like the waters rise at high tide, an ocean of people swept onto the bank of the shoreline, covering every inch of land. And, like ants on a piece of fruit, people were doing their best to find an open space to call their own.
What was the reason behind the influx of people? Was there another royal wedding? Was there another high profile jury decision? Or, was Oprah releasing her latest batch of favorite things?
No, my friends. None of the above.
We car-camped and gathered on the shoreline with 250,000 of our closest friends to witness the last shuttle launch. We gathered to see Captain Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim take off in Atlantis, the last space shuttle to launch – ever. We watched and were witness to history.
Oftentimes launches are scrubbed at the last minute, due to weather or mechanical glitches. It is rare a launch takes off on the exact day and time originally scheduled. We made the 2hr drive in the dark of night with a hope and faith we would not be disappointed.
The clouds and storms flirted with the Kennedy Space Station the entire morning. When NASA finally cleared the shuttle for launch, a computer glitch arose with only 31 seconds left in the countdown. However, just as Mother Nature kept the storms at bay long enough to make the launch a ‘go’, NASA fixed the computer glitch in time to ensure the shuttle would still be in range and meet it’s target – the International Space Station.
The excitement, anticipation, suspense and discombobulated yoga-like sleep positions made for a wonderful lifetime memory. I am thrilled to have witnessed the launching of Atlantis. Even more, I am thrilled to have witnessed the launch with my two boys, my husband, my friend (and hostess with the mostest), her two kids and 250,000 of our closest friends.
Thank you for the memories, NASA. We are forever grateful for each and every astronaut, and we will never forget those who lost their lives on the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.
Below is my own video. Pardon the shaking, blurry moments and yelling – I was trying to witness the event through more than my camera lens. Here is NASA’s video: Atlantis Shuttle Launch, Friday July 8, 2011. While you enjoy the video(s), we’ll enjoy the rest of our time in Florida, pool-side with friends.