Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Labor Day Weekend 2021

This past week has been a whirlwind.  Per usual, Eliot and I have been crazy busy with orders... but things have been flying out of here.  Thankfully, we were able to take a few days off this past weekend while we visited my family for Labor Day Weekend!

We were supposed to drive up to Bar Harbor Friday night, but after a crazy day on Thursday, we weren't sure if we'd be able to pull it off.  In the end, we realized it made more sense to stay home Friday to get as much done as possible so we could enjoy our weekend.  Eliot and I worked really hard Friday night printing, assembling and packaging orders.  Between Thursday and Friday, I think we mailed out just under 20 orders.  It was a lot of work, but worth it!

Saturday morning, we didn't get as early of a start as we'd wanted to, but after working so hard the night before, we were exhausted.  After Eliot took the mail to the post office around noon, we switched gears and started preparing to leave the house.  My Mom called when I got out of the shower and asked if we'd be offended if they all went apple picking without us.  (Jeremy had still driven up on Friday.)  I told them to go ahead, have fun and that we'd be getting on our way shortly!

Since we no longer felt as rushed to get home, Eliot and I really took our time driving north.  We hadn't eaten anything that morning, so we stopped in Portland to eat a mid-afternoon lunch at Chipotle.  We were surprised when our online order didn't go through on the drive over, but it was because they were accepting orders inside the restaurant again!  That was the best Chipotle burrito bowl that I've had in over a year!!!

Somewhere along the drive home, Eliot started looking at the little Vampire Mickey inflatable that we'd bought for my Dad a few weeks ago.  This year, Lowes has a small 18" Mickey "Airdorable" that's an indoor only inflatable and can sit on your desk or countertop.  He plugs into a USB outlet but also comes with a battery pack.  Eliot got curious and started taking him out of the box.  Before I knew it, Eliot whipped out a battery pack and Mickey was inflated and chilling out between us in the truck.  We both immediately fell in love with him and I knew he was going to be staying with us as our copilot.  The truck even has a USB port we could plug him into!

When we got to Augusta, we stopped at the Lowes so we could buy my Dad another one.  Eliot had decided that he also wanted one for his desk at work.  We had bought two for the house when we bought my Dad's... but this was too cute and totally worth the $12.98 price.  However, when we checked out, he rang up as $14.98.  I'd heard that Lowes increased the price on some of their Halloween merchandise, but I was still a little surprised.  However, his sticker still said $12.98, so after a quick stop at the customer service desk, we got a $2 refund on both and our two new Mickey friends were ready to come home with us!

We continued on and made our next stop a few exits up since Eliot wanted to go to the only Barnes and Noble in Maine.  We went inside and checked out the Legos, puzzles, Harry Potter stuff and board games.  Eliot and I both found a few puzzles and board games that interested us.  I took a few pictures so we'd remember what we saw.

While there, we noticed that the Spirit Halloween was next door where Michael's used to be.  (Michael's had moved into the old AC Moore over by Lowes.)  Eliot and I went in since we haven't been to one yet this year.  Unfortunately, all of the Haunted Mansion and Hocus Pocus merchandise was already extremely picked over.  I was anxious to see everything in person at the store, but other fans got to most of it first!  However, I did get to see the HM wreath in person.  I decided not to get it, but I did take a few pictures of it; I might use it as inspiration to make my own at some point!  Instead, I found a tabletop Hocus Pocus Billy's tombstone decoration that I bought.

While standing in line to checkout, Eliot found two of the Haunted Mansion blind bags left.  I hadn't really paid them much attention, but he said he could feel that one of them was a good one.  I honestly didn't even see which one he was pointing at, but I'm glad because it made for a fun moment back out in the truck.  Eliot had me open one, while he opened the other.  We got the Haunted Mansion sign and the tightrope walker!!!  If I had to pick two that I would want from the set, it's those two!  I was so excited!

After that, we made a quick stop at the Augusta Walmart.  I sat in the car, but Eliot ran in to look around and to pick up a few things.  Then, we were on our way again!  We made another quick stop at the Waterville Walmart.  Again, I sat in the car while Eliot looked for the Halloween merchandise we've been hunting for.

I was really excited for our last stop.... Hobby Lobby.  We don't have one near us, so I try to go to the one in Waterville or Bangor whenever we go home.  90% of the time, we're traveling late at night, or on a Sunday, and they're closed.  It's always a treat to stop in.  (I should add that while I don't agree with a lot of their corporate policies, I still shop there occasionally.)  They always have things that no one else around us does.  I enjoyed browsing the fall decor and the small amount of Christmas stuff already up... it's still early.  Plus, I found a few of the Disney fall doormats that I'd heard were in there!  I was so excited!  Those came home with us!

After that, we were done with all of our shopping stops and heading home.  Eliot had never driven the F-150, so we decided this was a good opportunity for him to do it as Waterville to Trenton is pretty straightforward, so he got his chance to drive it.  Plus, it gave me a break from driving and I could stretch out a bit!

In Ellsworth, we decided that we were a little hungry again... plus we were tempted by Dairy Queen- which was still open.  I got the burger meal that I like and Eliot got his favorite: cheese curds.  Then, we drove the rest of the way home... arriving sometime between 7 and 8.  We spent the evening visiting with my family and watching the new Hallmark movie together.  Then, we went to bed early since we were exhausted.

Sunday was our really busy day and we got up somewhat early.  We planned to have a BBQ later that evening, so Dad, Jeremy, Eliot and I all piled into the car to go get the groceries.  When we went to Walmart, we divided up so we could get everything done faster.  Dad picked up Nana's pills, the three of us kids quickly checked the Halloween merchandise.  Then, Eliot and Jeremy headed to the toy section to look around while Dad and I went to get the groceries.  The guys met back up with us a few minutes later, and I put them to work running to get a few things.  Then, we were all set.

While we were in Ellsworth, I wanted to stop at the TJ Maxx- which we've weirdly never been to.  (I thought they might have some Disney treasures, and I was right!)  Dad dropped Eliot and I off while he and Jeremy went over to Walgreen's.  Eliot and I wandered around and found a bunch of stuff in the home section.  We got two fall and Halloween themed floor mats and I also found two cute Mickey harvest signs.  I bought both- one for us and one for my Mom.  Most exciting, I found the Disney treats kitchen set that I've been looking for!  At the checkout line, they had the Disney coffee I'd seen people posting about.  I didn't get them, but I contemplated it.

Dad and Jeremy were in the parking lot and Dad drove over when he saw us come out.  We jumped back into the car and headed over to the Dunkin Donuts to grab our breakfast.  That line was insanity.  Jeremy joked that we were in the drive through line longer than all of our other stops combined.  I said that if Mom asked what took so long, we'd tell her that Dunkin was making Nana's old fashioned donut the real old fashioned way and that we were stuck waiting for them to churn the butter.  After all of us had a good laugh, it was finally time for us to order our food.  Then, we had to wait for them to cook Eliot's 2 bagles, Dad's egg wraps and Jeremy's and my breakfast sandwiches... but they were delicious!

We got home and spent the afternoon visiting.  Eliot and I had talked about potentially going into Bar Harbor or into the park, but it was nice to just relax at home visiting.

Later that evening, things got really busy.  Jeremy and I helped Mom and Dad with the BBQ.  Dad was outside on the grill and Jeremy was the runner.  I helped Mom out inside.  First, I mixed the potato salad up.  Then, I helped Mom cut more cucumber and tomatoes after I dubbed that we didn't have enough.  (We didn't... I actually ate most of them while cutting up more!)  Jeremy and I cleaned the pot so we could cook the corn.

Even after sneaking cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelon during preparation, I still had enough room to get a little of everything!  And everything was delicious!  We haven't been able to have a BBQ in a few years.  We ate inside, but it was still perfect.

While we were all finishing up our dinner, we checked to see what time Pirates Cove closed.  Their website said 8 pm, and it was right after 7:00 so we quickly finished and cleaned up.  Mom stayed home to be with Nana and put all of the extra food away while Dad, Jeremy, Eliot and I hopped into the car and drove to the mini golf course.

Pirates Cove was hilarious.  It's been a little bit since we played in Bar Harbor but we decided to do the harder of the two courses.  Of course, Eliot got a hole in one on the first hole.  Jeremy got one on hole 7.  Dad and I both had a lot of close calls.  I was actually playing pretty good.  About halfway into it, Eliot said I was only a few strokes behind him.  The course was pretty busy, and we had a large family of 10-12 people in front of us, so there was no reason to feel rushed.

On hole 13, you had to hit the ball up a steep hill so it curved back around over to the hole.  But the hole was between two rocks.  It took Dad a few tries to get it up and over the hill.  Then, Jeremy had a terrible time with it.  His ball kept rolling back so he eventually decided to hit it really hard.  Then, it bounced off of the brick and over to the hole next to us on the other course!  The couple down there got quite a surprise, but they laughed it off.  Eliot and I were in stitches laughing.  We almost fell off the bench.

Jeremy tried again- and that time the ball bounced off the edge and went through a hole in the netting.  We didn't even know there was a hole in the netting.  At this point, Eliot couldn't even breathe we were laughing so hard.  Jeremy did finally get it over to the hole, but he definitely earned that six.  

Then, it was my turn.  After watching Dad and Jeremy struggle, I hit the ball hard enough to make it go up the hill the first time.  As it curved back over in the direction of the hole, Eliot said "nope" because he didn't think it would go in.  My ball bounced around a few times off the wall and the rock... and it went in.  Hole in one!!!  I jumped up and down, especially because my Dad and Jeremy had such a hard time on the hole.  Eliot went after me, and he had a hard time getting the ball up the hill too.  (Don't worry... I gave him a bit of a hard time after he doubted my mini golf abilities.)

In the end, Eliot and I were super close and Dad and Jeremy were as well.  On hole 17, Eliot told me that I was only one stroke behind him.  Then, I beat him on that hole; as long as we tied on the last hole, I would win.  And I did!  I never beat Eliot so I was really proud of myself.  I was also only 3 over par at 45... which is probably the best game of mini golf that I've ever played!  After how terrible I was back on Father's Day and when Eliot and I went last weekend, I was pretty pumped!  

We all had a great time at Pirates Cove.  I was excited that I won.  Dad and Jeremy tied at 57.  When we got to do the wheel at the end, the first spin landed on 14 and I was so close to getting a free game.  The lady spun it again, and it fell between 18 and 1.  Since Eliot got a hole in one on hole 1, he got a token for a free game.  (Woo-hoo free game!)  After a quick selfie at the front, we hopped in the car and headed home.

But our night was just beginning!  Mom and Nana were watching tv inside.  While we told them about the adventures of hole 13, Dad made a fire out back.  Jeremy, Eliot, Dad and I all went outside to make some s'mores.  Jeremy made one for Mom and brought it back inside for her.  Eliot helped me make two for myself, then we headed back inside.  They were really yummy, even though mine probably weren't melted as good as they could have been.  We haven't made s'mores over a fire forever!

Dad went outside to put the fire out while Eliot took over the remote and set the tv up on our Disney+ account.  We've been talking about watching the Jungle Cruise with my parents since Eliot and I saw it back in early August.  Both my Mom and Dad wanted to see it, so that was our movie of choice.  Jeremy had something else he wanted to watch upstairs, but Mom, Dad, Nana, Eliot and I all gathered in the living room.  Eliot fell asleep at one point, but I was just as invested as I have been the other two times I've seen it.  During a break, I made sure everyone knew what was happening.  After the movie ended, everyone said they really enjoyed it!  After watching a funny video from the film's promotion on YouTube (see below), we said goodnight and went to bed!

Monday was definitely a lazy day.  I woke up at 8:30 and no one else was awake.  I went back to bed and played on my phone for a bit.  I eventually fell back asleep around 10:30 or so, thinking that I'd wake back up in a few minutes.  But I was out cold and woke up when it was nearly 1 pm in the afternoon.  Everyone else was being pretty lazy too, although they were all awake.  Mom hadn't felt good all night so she was half asleep in the living room chair.  Dad was relaxing watching tv beside her.  (It's rare that Mom and Dad get to sleep in on a Monday in their line of business.)

Once we all got moving, Eliot and Jeremy wanted to go to the comic book store in Ellsworth.  (It had been closed the previous day.)  We thought we needed antifreeze for the truck, so Dad went with them to get some and I sat home with Mom and Nana.  We discussed going to the Jordan Pond House, but we figured they might be swamped for the holiday.  They aren't taking reservations this year, and we were worried about how long we might have to wait for a table.  (Normally, it wouldn't matter but we didn't want Nana and my Mom to have to wait.  Mom's fully healed but she can't stand for long periods of time.)  Instead, the guys brought McDonald's home with them.  I enjoyed my chicken nuggets.  Definitely not as as good as popovers, but they still did the trick.

Jeremy headed home to NH from the comic book store.  After eating, Dad, Eliot and I went to fill the truck with fluids.  Everything looked good, so Eliot and I packed, got ready and put everything in the truck.  Once the 3D printer finished it's last print, we decided it was time to go.  (We brought one home with us because we wouldn't have been able to go home otherwise.  We couldn't afford to lose a few days of printing!)  

I was proud of us because we actually were leaving my parents' house at a reasonable time.  We usually get home super late, but this time, we would have time to come home and print stuff before going to bed.  After saying goodbye to Mom, Dad and Nana, we jumped up into the truck and were on our way!

Eliot and I made a quick stop at the TJ Maxx in Ellsworth.  (I decided that I did want those coffees.)  We also checked out the bed and bath stuff that I somehow missed in all of my excitement from finding the kitchen set the day before.  I'm so glad we looked in the bath section, because Eliot and I found a Mickey and Minnie Thanksgiving and fall themed shower curtain!  We got it; it will be perfect in our master bathroom!  Then, we went through the Dairy Queen drive through one last time.  I got a small Blizzard and Eliot got one more box of cheese curds.  (He really loves those things!)

We continued on our way.  As we drove, the clouds kept getting darker once we were out of Ellsworth.  We eventually hit a ton of rain, and it was coming down hard in buckets.  Driving over 1A was pretty stressful.  Once we were nearing Brewer, I had to pee (probably nerves from driving in the storm) so we stopped at the Lowes that's just after the entrance to the highway.  We wanted to take a break, stretch and see if the storm would pass.  The sun was coming out in the distance, but it was still raining.

Unfortunately, the truck had other plans that evening.  When I pulled into the parking spot, I noticed two things: a beautiful rainbow to my left above the Lowes and smoke coming out of the hood of the truck on my right.  The antifreeze wasn't working... or so we thought.  The truck had been smoking a little when we arrived home Saturday night, but we all thought that the engine was just overheating.  After Eliot looked under the hood at Lowes, it was clear that it was something else.

A lot of phone calls back and forth between my parents happened.  Long story short, Eliot and I were grounded in Brewer Lowes.  My parents were right in the middle of dinner, but once they finished, Dad was coming to our rescue.  Dad drove their Toyota car up, Mom called AAA, and Eliot and I waited.  (Their house is about 45 minutes away, but it still took a little bit of time because Dad had to finish his dinner.)  While Eliot and I sat in the truck waiting, I admired the double rainbow and the sunset.  

The plan was that once Dad arrived, we would move all of our stuff into their car.  Dad was going to wait for AAA and then drive home with them and the truck.  Eliot and I were were going to borrow their car for the week since we needed to get home.  By the time this all unfolded, we were about 2.5 hours behind where we thought we'd be... but there wasn't much we could do about it!  

Thankfully, Dad arrived before AAA and we got everything moved over ok.  Eliot and I stayed and talked with him for a few minutes.  Once we knew he was all set, we said goodbye again and headed out.  At this point, it was too late to get anything other than McDonald's; instead we went into the Brewer Walmart to buy snacks for the ride.  

It wasn't the ending of our holiday weekend that we'd planned, but everything ended up working out ok!  Eliot and I arrived home around 12:30 am.  After bringing the printer inside and setting it up for the night, we went right to bed.  We were both completely exhausted from our weekend, but it was totally worth it!  We really enjoyed our short break and spending some time with my family!  Now, we're gearing up for another busy few days before we leave for an actual vacation on the 17th!!!  °o°

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