12 January, 2012

Christmas Vacation: Arklahoma

I know you guys think I just totally made up that word, but I can't take credit for it. The area I grew up in {the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas} is referred to as Arklahoma pretty often...for those of us who live there, anyway. Moving on. =)

We took 2 days to get there from NC, stopping overnight in TN. Stopping for one night totally made the difference. I was able to get some REAL rest, eat good meals and shower. Definitely beats flying overnight. To be honest, I really enjoyed the drive. I've always preferred driving over flying and this just solidified that. Yeah, driving can get boring but there's so much scenery!! Mountains, hills, farming fields... I love it all. {And whoever says that the US is overpopulated needs to drive on I40 from NC to AR. Seriously.} We arrived in AR/OK on New Year's Eve around 4pm. And, no, I didn't stay up until midnight. I think I made it to 10 before desperately needing sleep. I've never really been one for NYE, so it didn't exactly bother me. 

The next day we got up and went to church with my in-laws. Joe and I attended church there before we got married, so it was nice to go back and see friendly faces. After church we all went to lunch and Joe's brother and his wife joined us. Then the boys went shooting. =P This whole gun thing is a new development... Joe's brother got interested in guns within the last year or so and now this interest has spread to Joe and my FIL. Before this, none of them had had any interesting in owning a gun. Well, ok, except maybe Joe...and that was because of me. We always had guns in the house growing up, and I was all for having one for home defense. Still am, actually. Anyway, it's just really weird and sometimes a bit much. The whole time we were gone Joe, his dad, brother and grandpa talked about guns. I wish I were kidding. Anyway. I hung out with my MIL and BIL's wife {does that make her my SIL too?} while they did their thing.

And then there was dinner with my family.... To which we ended up being late because of said gun shooting. We had dinner at Nana's house and Nana is notorious for having dinner ready like 20 minutes early. We were late for the original time, not "Nana time." Translation: they started without us. Thanks, guys. We get there and only my grandparents and mom are there. Dad and my brother were working. Now, this isn't exactly a new thing and I generally understand that my brother is on call a lot and has weird hours. Andrew {brother} did actually come by as soon as he could. Dad? Didn't even show. He was working supposedly because they're expanding his shop {adding new machines and stuff} and he "had to be there." Nevermind that I flew 7000 miles and then drove 1000 just to be there....

Dinner wasn't so bad, except for the 9 million "did you do ___ while flying/driving?" questions from my mom and Nana. I don't know how my poor Papa puts up with all the worrying/obsessing the two of them do. Actually, I think I do know. Pretty sure he tunes them out and I really can't blame him! =P

We stayed for around 2-3 hours... I enjoyed catching up with Nana and Papa...and Mom, I guess, but it just wasn't the same as it's been in years past. Nana consistently talks about how bad Papa is doing - in front of him. Which, of course, makes me feel even worse for him. He's really doing quite well for all the things he's been through in the past 2 years. He has COPD, is on oxygen most of the time, takes meds for blood clots and his lungs, but he really looks good. I know he can't get out and do much {which is really hard for him}, but he looks healthy. Papa loves to talk about God, the Bible and politics. =P And Mom just likes to interrupt. It was seriously getting irritating how many times she'd try to start a conversation with me or Nana while Papa was talking to us about God/Bible things. To be honest, a part of me really wondered if that sort of talk was making her uncomfortable... Really, though, it was much easier to let Mom's odd comments just slide while I was there. Still irritating, but not so bad.

The next day of our trip was the bestie date, but that one will take too long to cover. I'm gonna save that one for next time. ;-) Sorry!

Day 3 was spent with Mom. Just me and Mom for a whole day while Joe went pheasant hunting with his dad and brother... 

Can you figure out which one is my hubby?

The day with Mom wasn't all bad... But there were times when I really wanted to pull my hair out. {Or hers. =P} Because there's not enough time in the world to go over it all, I'll give you a couple Mom-gems of the day:

Please tell me you're not going to homeschool that child.
My rebuttal to this was 1) it will be great if we stay Army and are moving every 3 years - stability. 2) What better way to instill values and Bible knowledge in your children?

Joe really doesn't need to get out of the Army right now - there are no jobs! He should just say in and move to GA. We could come visit you so easy then.
My thoughts: You didn't visit us when we lived in GA before. I know the economy sucks, but we're not dumb. Most importantly, it's our decision. {Side note for you guys: We're weighing reenlisting/OCS/ETSing options right now. Weighing, not deciding.}

My actual response: "We have a lot of options."

Make sure you let me know where you are when you're traveling.
Seriously, Mom? I'm 25. Not 15.

Your dad isn't coming to Hawaii in June. He's probably going to get promoted and he'll have to be here for meetings.
Glad to see your grandchild is as important as I am.

See? Not all bad, but not all great either. I've realized since our visit that my mom still feels a serious need to have a say in my life and decisions. She also feels the need to incessantly worry about my {and Charlotte's} well-being. Neither of these are healthy, but I haven't figured out how to address this yet.

Our last full day in AR/OK was spent running errands, doing lunch with my in-laws and seeing my family one more time before leaving.  {Side note: I saw my dad for a total of 20 minutes on the day I spent with Mom. Still ticked about that one.} It really was good seeing my family. I really do love them {despite my complaining}, but MAN do they drive me insane!!! 

I promise I'll be done with these Christmas recaps soon!! Just one more to go, and it will be the best/most entertaining one! 


JG said...

Oh girl. It sounds like you had a great trip overall, though. And my parents still like getting a play-by-play when we travel. And they send me theirs (unsolicited :)) when they travel. With them, I know it's just because they like to be aware. But yea, it's not just you :)

Oh the homeschooling discussion. It's funny how the whole "I'm the one ultimately responsible for my child's education, not the government" concept is so foreign to so many people. Not saying that's what she was saying, but I've definitely encountered it.

Jen said...

Sounds like you had an overall good trip. But then again a trip home is never complete without a little bit of family drama ugh.

Chantal said...

Oh your family bothers me! I'm sorry your dad didn't even see you much :(

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I'm sorry that things with your mother were strained.

Mrs. Caitlin said...

We are stationed in Oklahoma, near the Texas border.. They call the area Texoma out here!

Amanda said...

My dad loves to have a say in my husband and I's decisions too. It is possibly the most frustrating thing ever. I'm the same way though.. I love my family. I think it's easier to love them from a distance sometimes though. When you live far away and visit, it's much easier to lose your patience quicker. Props to you for getting through it though. =)