Rollin’ with my Oklahomies

After Dave’s training finished up in Kansas City, we hit the road for Elk City, Oklahoma!  “Again with the middle-of-nowhere/flyover states,” you’re probably thinking.  This one was family motivated but I did actually spend the night in Elk City back in 2011 on my cross-country road trip with my parents from Ketchikan, AK (sea assignment) to Panama City Beach, FL (land assignment).  It was smack dab in the middle of our trek from Santa Fe, New Mexico and Fayetteville, Arkansas where two sets of friends lived.  Casey and Zack had not yet moved there or else we would have stayed longer!

My cousin, Casey, is my closest relative age-wise that I actually keep in touch with.  We’re nine months apart in age, grew up two hours away from each other, and went to college together.  She’s actually a flawless roommate, too, in case you didn’t know!  We lived together for about two years on and off beginning in high school and continuing until I graduated from UNCW.  We will both allow our living spaces to reach a certain level of cluttered before we wage an all out war on the home and clean every square inch.  See?  Perfect!

So, I went off to sea, Casey met Zack, fell in love, got married, had a baby, and moved to Oklahoma.  Ahhhh, it all happened so quickly!  No it didn’t, this all happened over the course of a few years but time flies when you’re having fun and absence makes the hard grow fonder, yada yada yada.  So I present you with Casey, Zack, and Emma, my Oklahomies!  The photo on the left is Casey and Emma from their visit to St. Pete last summer, middle: Zack & Casey at Emma’s baby shower, right: Emma BEAN!

We didn’t get too much time off of work so we crammed in a two day visit.  On Friday, I woke up a little congested but ignored it (who has time for allergies/a cold when there are cousin shenanigans on the horizon?!?!) and spent the morning searching for cupcakes, which Casey requested.  I discovered Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery in Kansas City and the four “adults” ate TWELVE of those bad boys before the weekend was over.  I failed at taking a photo before we destroyed them but I did learn that Smallcakes is a chain and there are some in Tampa Bay-oh happy day!  We finished the evening with Casey’s first viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I don’t know how she waited so long, I really don’t.  Also on the trip we saw the burned pastures of the Flint Hills (tis the season!), some renewable energy harvesting-yay windmills, and a tiny house on the move.

On Saturday, Dave helped Casey install some new plumbing and her new sink in the downstairs bathroom while I entertained Emma.  Before we got there, they temporarily relied on one full upstairs bathroom for the three of them and a toilet but no door on the hinges for the downstairs bathroom.  Zack works the night shift so his first interaction with the new sink resulted in his description of “absolute luxury” during a hand washing and subsequent shave before work.  Happy to help, kids!

Later that day we grabbed some Mexican food, drove through Elk City, and went to the local Ace Hardware multiple times because it’s not truly DIY until you can make multiple hardware store runs in a day.  That night, Zack took Dave on a ride-along while Casey and I snuggled with her kitty, Marcello, who also used to be my roommate in college. We had fun eating more cupcakes, sipping on a new wine she picked, and a beer I picked while we introduced each other to Netflix and Amazon Prime shows.  Sharing is caring, y’all.

This is Marcello.  One photo is simply not enough.  I think he looks like a grey-stripey version of Simba.  He’s also perfect because he acts like a dog, so even Dave liked him.  Fortunately, Casey hasn’t updated her will yet so God forbid anything should happen but if so, I get the cat.  Sorry (I’m not sorry) Zack!

Sunday came too soon and we made the six hour trip back to Kansas City to return the rental car, grab dinner at the airport, and fly back to Tampa.  Garth Brooks Blvd, dirty rental car from the dog jumping in the back as we prepared to leave (“it’s a rental!!), and red-dirt socks…most excellent!

When we arrived home around 11:30pm (already sad to leave Casey, Zack and Emma so quickly mind you!), it was muggy (only about 75 degrees but the MidWest was cooler all week long, so it felt like 85 and exacerbated my already congested sinuses) and the power was out.  Ugh.  No A/C, no ceiling fan, stuffy nose, and sad=bad combo!  We had to grab the flashlights, lighters, and unearth the Christmas candles so we could light the candles to carry our luggage through the house.  Normally this would not drive me crazy, I actually like it when the power goes out.  However, the power company’s chainsaw roaring until 1:30am was not my favorite thing to fall asleep to.  A tree limb fell on the power line in the neighbor’s back yard so random power employees were walking through our back yards around midnight and leaving our gates unlocked and creaking.  *Not creepy at all, I tell you*  5-6 hours of sleep later and it was time to get up for Monday!

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