I left work at 11 and headed to the dealership to have Yurtle's new rack installed. She's got a sweet rack now, lol. JK, she got cargo cross bars installed. An impulsive decision on Tuesday let me to call the Kia dealership and set up the install. The price was equavlent to what I would have paid to get the bars not at the dealership and they installed them. Despite the lack of wifi at the dealership (an issue I've dealt with before), I continued working since I had brought my work computer with me.
Side note: can we just talk about how awesome technology is? As I was packing up my stuff to head out on Wednesday my boss comes up to me and asked if I was headed to the meeting that was about to go down and I told him that Yurtle had an a doctor appointment. I was able to call in and listen to the call while I was driving and I didn't miss anything AND I got to count my travel time as work time. WINNNNNN.
I was only at the dealership for 20 minutes while they installed the bars, a first since normally I'm there an unbearable amount of time. I was grateful for the short visit because the 3 ladies chatting in the waiting room were making me want to push rusty nails into my ear drums. I went home to finish up my work time since I was on that side of town (and because I can). I managed to get everything packed and put the cargo bag on top of Yurtle and packed the crate and chairs in it. I knew I wasn't going to be able to get the suitcase in on my own, so I waited for Mr. Scrooge on that.
Phil took advantage of Mr. Scrooge not getting off work super early with naps. I continued packing and doing what I could to get ready to leave.
That included moving the dog beds to the car.. at which point Phil decided it was time to leave. He wouldn't even turn around and look at me when I was calling his name in the above photo because he thought I was going to tell him to get out. He stayed in the car while we finished packing it up for at least an hour. He even stayed in the car while we tied the cargo bag down (a feat that took at least 45 minutes). Phil is serious business about going on rides... and walks.. and food times.. and naps.
Mr. Scrooge is a control freak who insisted on driving. From my TAD time in DC in Feb 2014, I had a free hotel stay since I booked my hotel through hotels.com and you get a free night after the 10th night (yay 11 day TAD). This meant that we stopped a little past 1/2 way in VA for the night. Teh MD Adult Roomie had told me about a dog park in Roanoke Rapids, NC that we stopped at around 11pm in hopes that the dogs would go business since all of them had decided to be leash shy, ugh. Fortunately, they all went business and the hotel was only 30ish minutes away.
Not willing to risk a poopsplosion in the hotel room, we had to unpack the entire cargo bag to get the crate out. Xero was put in doggy jail while we were out of the room and during sleepin' time. The dogs roused us around 7 the next morning, and instead of going back to sleep, we decided to just get ready and hit the road early. I did some research to see if there was a dog park nearby since none of the asshole dogs would go business after breakfast and the travel center right around the corner from the hotel actually had one. I was so pumped. We stopped there on our way out and got gas and let the dogs go business.
|Phil and Meri got to enjoy the luxury of sleeping on the bed.|
|Xero being adorable.|
We stayed at the Eisenhower Hotel, which is where most of the GIG-ers (yes that's what we call ourselves) stay since the expo center is a 5 minute walk from the hotel. They let us check in early, thank Jebus. I had thought that the ride from VA to PA was going to be 4+ hours. 3ish hours was all it took. Mr. Scrooge let me drive, which was exciting for me because going through DC makes my heart happy. I hate how much I miss DC and all it's things (to include 495).
Suzy detoured me past some serious construction traffic and when we hit 270 north of DC, I couldn't stop smiling because ALL THE HILLS!!! You can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can't take the love of mountains out of the girl. Also, I observed that spring had barely started in DC/PA. The trees barely had blooms and leaves. Everything is green and summer-y in Charleston. I wish I was kidding, but no. It's pretty much summer here, please don't hate me. You can have it.
We moved all our crap into the hotel room with minimal issues. The first thing to accomplish was passing Xero off to his new family, which was bittersweet for me. Yes, that spaz ass was a pain, but he was growing on me and he entertained Meri all the day long. His family was actually in the room next to us.
|The watch dog...|
After passing Xero on and socializing for a few minutes, Mr. Scrooge and I headed out to get a late lunch at Garryowen Irish Pub. I got fish and chips and Mr. Scrooge got shepard's pie. We shared an apple walnut cake thingy for dessert. Honestly, we were too hungry for pictures, but imagine something that looks delicious and you've got it right.
We headed back to the hotel room for a bit and then headed out later for Hogs and Dogs at the local Harley-Davidson dealership. Lots of hounds and free hot dogs and wind and COLD, OMG so cooollllddddd. I won a box of dog treats (which we kinda needed since all we have currently is beggin strips which apparently are bad (whatevs)) and we met up with some other GEGR (Phil's rescue, Greyt Expectations Greyhound Rescue) folks. We ended up going out to dinner with them at Appalachian Brewery Company. Since I'd had a hot dog at the dealership, I just ordered a delicious smores dessert. Because we were at dinner, we ended up missing the bonfire at the hotel, which was kinda sad, but we were all ok with it since we knew it was freezing outside and we would have probably been miserable.
|Flatbread with nutella smeared over it with toasted marshmallows on top.|
After dinner, we made a pit stop at Walmart to look for a warm hat/gloves (no luck because apparently it's no longer winter in PA..wtf) then headed back to the hotel and went to bed. The next morning we had a battlefield walk planned at 0800. Gentle Readers, I was NOT prepared for the cold. I was expecting temps of 50-60s during the day and dropping as low as 40 at night. It was more like 40-50s during the day with a VERY strong breeze. Our battlefield walk was.. miserable if you are me. Mr. Scrooge had suggested that I pick up a pair of leggings at Walmart, which might have been the best idea that he's had in the last week.
I bundled up in leggings, jeans, a shirt, a sweatshirt, a jacket, and hiking boots. If I had gloves I probably would have been 75% less miserable. My fingers were just so cold because I was trying to take photos with my DSLR and I had Phil. Mr. Scrooge had taken Meri so I could take photos (since she's crazy on a leash).
|Me and my favorite.|
|Mr. Scrooge and my 2nd favorite.|
I ended up breaking away from the group when Mr. Scrooge wanted to show me a memorial stone with pennies on it. After taking some photos of it, I whined about how miserable I was and Mr. Scrooge opened his coat and tried to snuggle me to get me warm, but my fingers were hurting super bad from being so cold so we headed back to the car. Mr. Scrooge ran ahead with Meri and started the car while Phil and I walked to the car. Since we hadn't had breakfast, we picked up McDonald's on the way back to the hotel.
The expo opened at 10, so we decided to swing by and pick up our registration packets and see what was there. Phil did awesome on the potentially "slippery" floors and Meri was Miss Popularity, being fuzzy and brown makes her an anomaly of a podenco. About 75% of people that guessed her breed were correct and since we were with a group of sighthound lovers, 98% of people knew what a podenco was when we would tell them that was her breed.
Our friends Snoopy (galgo) and Beans (Boston Terrier) and their Mom came up to Gettysburg to hang out. Sadly, their Mom forgot Snoopy's meds, which meant they didn't get to spend the night, but we got to hang out for a few hours, so that was awesome. We watched Michael's presentation about Sighthound Underground (Meri's rescue group) and heckled her a bit (yes Michael is a she).
Mr. Scrooge and I took a nap and did more socializing then headed to dinner at O'Rourke's after feeding the beasts.
|Maryland pretzel, nomnomnom.|
That would be a pretzel covered with crab and cheese and Old Bay seasoning.
|We had parked in front of Kilwins, so we stopped there for dessert.|
We found a liquor store after dinner because we'd been invited to some drinking/socializing activities. We never ended up finding the party, but Teh FL Greyhound Neighbors arrived so we hung out with them after dinner, catching up since we hadn't seen each other since before I left MD.
Saturday morning, I was scheduled to volunteer at Cindy's booth (I'm using real names for some individuals since they are business owners and I'm semi-promoting them because they are where I do business). Cindy was selling collars (Love That Collar) and clipping dog toe nails. Cindy was actually the first person that ever groomed Meri. We drove an hour and a half to get to her house because I wanted to make sure that Meri's first grooming experience wasn't a scarring ordeal. Totally worth it because Cindy is awesome. Additionally, I'm sure that 1/2 of Phil's collar collection is by Cindy, so there's that as well.
While I was showering, Meri had a poopsplosion incident before Mr. Scrooge could get the dogs outside. After my shower, I cleaned up the poopsplosion (soooo glad we bought the carpet spray when we were at Walmart!) and then finished getting ready. Nothing like poop everywhere to get your day started off right. Cindy had planned for me to manage the toes line, but after seeing me sell the hell out of some collars, it was decided I could stick with it after her MIL arrived to assist. There was some cuteness that I got distracted by, but it was totally worth it.
|The North vs the South|
|The South Rides Again.. if that wasn't what this get up was called, it should have been.|
Because I'm an enabling enabler, I peer pressured the shit out of the parents of 2 of Meri's littermates, Gordo and Emilia, to come up to GIG for the day so we could have a litter-reunion. I had Mr. Scrooge bring Meri and Phil to the expo while I was still working so we could get the littermates together for photos. It was almost unbearably adorable. The humans were more excited than the dogs, but having 4 of the 5 US-based pups together was awesome!
|Meri, Emilia, Gordo|
|Xero, Meri, Gordo, Emilia|
After photos, Mr. Scrooge and I shared some bbq for lunch and wandered around the expo and outside. Buddy and Gracie and Teh FL Greyhound Neighbors hung out with us for a while and eventually we parted ways and agreed to meet for dinner.
|Something was very interesting.|
|Weird dog is weird|
After we left the expo, Mr. Scrooge and I agreed to drive through the battlefields, stopping for photos as needed. It wasn't as chilly as Friday, but the skies weren't as clear for photos. Those photos are on my DSLR and have yet to be gone through, but skimming through them, most of the photos didn't turn out. I did get one photo on my phone because I love the mountains.
|I need more hills to call home.|
After driving through the battlefield (the southern side, since we had walked the northern side on Friday morning), we met Teh FL Greyhound Neighbors at The Avenue Restaurant for dinner. I had salmon patties which was actually the special on Friday, but they let me order it anyways and THEY WERE DELICIOUS and I didn't get photos because HUNGERRRRR.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel (the pups had rode with us during the battlefield tour and waited in the car while we ate dinner) to feed the dogs, then headed to Brew and Grey, which was a beer/wine tasting event. GEGR was hosting an ice cream social during that time, which I had volunteered for. It was pretty cold, but I had put on my Friday morning battlefield walk gear, so I was warm enough. The dogs sported their jammies/coats for about half of the weekend since it was so chilly and Mr. Scrooge didn't even complain. Everyone kept referring to Meri as "the cow dog" which cracked me up.
|The ice cream social wasn't just for the 2 leggers!|
After some ice cream drama, we moved inside the big tent (where it wasn't as cold and where the people were) and eventually the event started winding down. We helped break down what we could and then walked back to the hotel to wind down the night. I made a quick visit to Teh FL Greyhound Neighbors' room to pick up some poop meds for the dogs to combat anymore poopsplosions.
Originally, I had planned to have Phil and Meri do the Blur of Fur event where they time the dogs running. Then on Saturday night I cancelled my plans because I learned that you just stand at one end and call your dog and then they run to you. Neither of my dogs would run at me with any expediency, so I didn't bother. I thought they chased a lure or something enticing, but I guess not.
Instead, Mr. Scrooge and I loaded up the car and headed out earlier than we had anticipated. Mr. Scrooge told me that he guessed we would be home by 9pm and I set him straight quickly. Since we were leaving at 0930ish, we would be home WELL before 9pm. When we stopped for gas, we would accomplish all the tasks, food, business, etc. Despite his estimate that we wouldn't make it back to the place in VA where we had stayed, we did. We stopped there so the dogs could visit the dog park and take care of their business while we got gas and snacks. We actually stopped for lunch at Five Guys a few exits down the road since neither of us wanted Subway.
We stopped again in SC to get gas, at which point Mr. Scrooge let me drive, and we pulled off a few times to resituate the cargo bag since it was flapping in the wind making an awful racket. We made it home around 6:30. The worst part of the drive home was after I took over driving. Mr. Scrooge said that the traffic/idiots hadn't been so bad when he was driving, but it was BAD when I took over. I think he even felt sorry for me at one point for all the morons that I was encountering.
When we got home, Mr. Scrooge unloaded Yurtle while I chased Phil around the neighborhood because he didn't feel like going in the house. I got a trust lesson from Phil, for sure. Usually, I let the dogs run into the house from the garage unleashed with no issues. This time, I was parked at the end of the driveway so we could unload the cargo bag without hitting Mr. Scrooge's truck. Despite the garage being open, both dogs ran to the front door since that is where they enter/exit most often. So I quickly ran into the house through the garage to open the front door for Mr. and Miss Priss. Meri came in the door with no issues, but Phil was like, NOPE, lata! and turned around and hightailed it across the street. I called him in my super nice voice and he turned and looked at me and if dogs could laugh, he did that. I chased Phil around the circle. He KNEW that he had to be just faster than me to not get caught and I KNEW that was exactly what he was doing. I also KNOW he let me catch him after we were about a tenth of a mile away from home. It was a quarter mile that I probably needed, but hadn't planned on walking/jogging. I held Phil's martingale collar while he pranced his way home proudly like, "Look, I'm walking my human, haha!" Jerk dog. PS, he's still my favorite.
After Mr. Scrooge unloaded the car and I had fed the dogs, I unpacked all the crap while he tended the yard. Did I mention I don't care about the yard and Mr. Scrooge is a grass addict? Yeah, that's a thing. He spent over an hour watering the grass. Every.single.time I see him watering the grass I can only see the dollar signs behind my eyes when the water bill comes. I'm not even a little bit excited.
After starting laundry and checking the internet to see if anyone had posted cute pictures of my dogs, it was finally bedtime.
Overall, it was a good trip. I'd probably go again. Honestly, if Mr. Scrooge hadn't been around to assist with the dogs, it would have been an entirely different trip. I would have probably felt frazzled because I would have been dealing with Meri and Phil pulling me in opposite directions and fielding questions from everyone. I'm glad I signed up for limited volunteering time. I wish I would have seen more of the presenters, but I did have a good time nonetheless. While the Eisenhower was convenient, the hotel is kinda run down and in addition to the nightly fee, they also charged a one time pet fee of $35 which kinda sucks, mostly because the event brings a metric butt ton of business to the hotel. There was also no microwave or fridge in the room and the ice machines were broken when we tried to use them (but I heard that later one was working). I think if I go back, I won't register for the event since the only real benefit was the free cooler, glass, and samples that we got x2. Registration did also include a few raffle tickets and sample tickets for the beer/wine tasting, but really nothing super imperative. The bag also included the bracelet that was our "admission" to events, but no one was checking for them.
Teh MD Adult Roomie and I have already discussed GIG 2016 and we've decided it depends on the dolla situation after our Disney runs in Feb 2016, which are our priority. When we left, I was sad not to be surrounded by dogs all the time. I just enjoyed the company of all the pups. Greyhounds are such awesome dogs and they are quiet and just lean against you and just want pettins and love and treats. I can haz moar?